Tiny Agios Efstratios is the next island to go green. Construction on the project will begin in September. In about two years, the island will receive electricity and heat from solar and wind power. It must now supply polluting and expensive diesel.
On the map of Greece, Agios Efstratios is a small point, in the middle of the northern Aegean Sea, with almost the same distance between the Greek and Turkish mainland. The only island nearby is Limnos. “Yes, our island is one of the most remote islands,” said Mayor Maria Kakali. “And yet, we don’t feel isolated. Remember, we choose to live here.”
She was born and raised in Agios Efstratios. Kakali left to study, but then returned. She was elected the youngest mayor of Greece in 2014. She was then 27 years old.
It faced a major challenge, with an aging island population of around 200 people, mostly fishermen and ranchers. Young people do not come back after their studies because there is no work. “For 2010, an energy plan had already been submitted to the European Union, but it did not take off. When I became mayor, we revised and adapted it in collaboration with the Greek Center for New Sources of Energy. She got the support of the people.