The social perspective on island energy transitions: Evidence from the Aegean archipelago

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Multiple (inter)national networks and research consortia attempt to capitalise on their emerging experience of integrated smart and green energy solutions by contributing towards the sustainable energy transition of non-interconnected island communities. However, past research at an international level suggests that local opposition might undermine otherwise promising transition plans. In order to minimise the problems of technological transfers, it is, thus, imperative to embark on an early-stage exploration of public attitudes towards such innovations. In light, however, of the routine exclusion of social issues in island energy studies, we present timely data from the first-ever questionnaire survey conducted across the islands of the Aegean Sea. In doing so, we uncover the widespread acceptability of green energy solutions developed as part of the internationally acclaimed TILOS (“Technology Innovation for the Local Scale, Optimum Integration of Battery Energy Storage”) Horizon 2020 project. Simultaneously, though, we draw on the outputs of our unique end-user segmentation analyses and argue that only certain islanders are likely to accept the full replication of the TILOS energy model in their communities. Numerous personal/demographic factors influence the likelihood of accepting specific sustainable energy technologies and, subsequently, only a group of individuals who are young, male, knowledgeable and concerned about the environment are expected to support the proposed technological transition. In turn, we argue that these findings should inform future interventions and research with the ultimate aim of supporting efforts to “green” the Aegean archipelago and other non-interconnected islands at an international level.


Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date2 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


    Research areas

  • Public attitude, Social acceptance, Smart grids, Sustainable energy, islands, TILOS

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