UCL Energy Institute


Islands Energy Resources and Environment

Island Energy

The Islands Research Lab (islandslaboratory.com) studies innovative solutions for energy generation and demand on islands, resource nexus, integration of renewable technologies, IoT technology and smart grids, together with adequate business models, regulations and policies. It provides an understanding and awareness about current experiences and future sustainable solutions for islands nations worldwide.

Researchers from different disciplines, such as energy, environment, computer science, mathematics, economics, social science, anthropology, architecture merge their powers to deliver cutting-edge research regarding the technology, the data, the business models needed for islands.

The Islands Lab is concerned with:

  • Energy trends and climate change impacts
  • Planning, design and operation of low carbon energy system
  • Low carbon technologies and infrastructure
  • Interconnected islands and interconnections between islands and mainland effects
  • Resource use (water-energy-land-food-materials)
  • Energy from waste
  • Business models and services
  • Economic, social and environmental impacts
  • Big data
  • Policy and regulations
  • Sustainable Development Goals

Our areas of research include a diverse use of modelling techniques, consisting of energy system dynamics models, agent based modelling, game theory, optimization and simulation based models, integrative complex systems modelling approaches and data collection methods to better capture the complex system of interactions, operation simultaneously at several levels to provide policy insights into the effects and likely impacts of policy measures and the assessment and monitoring of SDGs progress.

Our activities and methodological approaches aim synergies with the low carbon and smart cities vision. We work closely with companies, public sectors, islanders to transfer our research outcomes to the real world. 

Since 2013 we have analysed more than 136 islands worldwide, including Anglesey, Ap Lei Chau, Azores Archipelago, Balearic Islands, Bermuda, Belle-Ile-En-Mer, Bornholm, Cook Islands, Corsica, Cape Verde, Curacao Island, Fayal, Gotland, Gozo, Gran Canaria, Guam, Fiji, Guadalupe, Galapagos Islands, Guland, Hainan,  Hawaii, Hayling Island, Holy Island Isle of Wight, Jamaica, Island of Kos, Isle of Anglesey, Isle of Sheppey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kiribati Islands, Lesbos Island, Lantau Island, Lolland, Mallorca, Madagascar, Madeira Archipelago, Martinique, Northern Mariana Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, La Reunion, Orkney, Penghu, Penang, Rugen, Sardinia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Samothrace, Taipa, Tahiti, Tasmania, Tenerife,  Texel, Tokelau, Tsing Yi, Tuvalu, Zakynthos, Zhongshan, Xiamen, Walney Island, and others. We are creating a global directory of analysis for islands for energy and resource use, giving their geographical, economic, environmental and social characteristics. 

For more information, please contact Dr Catalina Spataru, Head of the Islands Laboratory: c.spataru@ucl.ac.uk


Head of Group
Dr Catalina Spataru

Research staff
Prof Mark Barrett
Prof Raimund Bleischwitz

PhD Researchers
Ms. Eleni Zafeiratou - Renewable Energy Integration on the Greek Islands following their Interconnection with the grid 
Mr. Selman Sevindik - Energy, building materials and technologies – A circular vision for sustainable growth

Mr. Dominic Rassool - An analysis of the uptake of air source heat pumps on the Isle of Man 
Mr Dimitrios Angeletos - Energy and environment assessment for Island of Kos
Ms. Luiza Potter Haussen - Integrating renewables in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago in Pernambuco, Brazil
Mrs. Julia Lucchese - Environment, building materials and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A framework towards circular economy

Visiting Researchers
Ms. Emily Mancuso - Review of the interconnection of the Caribbean Islands, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA


Spataru, C. (August 2018) Transitioning Island Nations Into Sustainable Energy Hubs: Emerging Research and Oppportunities, IGI Global

Zafeiratou, E., & Spataru, C. (2018). Sustainable island power system – Scenario analysis for Crete under the energy trilemma index. Sustainable Cities and Society. doi:10.1016/j.scs.2018.05.054

Zafeiratou, E., & Spataru, C. (2017). Potential economic and environmental benefits from the interconnection of the Greek islands. International Journal of Global Warming, 13 (3-4), 426-458. doi:10.1504/IJGW.2017.087211

Zafeiratou, E., & Spataru, C. (2017). Transforming the Greek Cycladic islands in to a wind energy hub. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS-ENGINEERING SUSTAINABILITY, 170 (2), 113-129.

Zafeiratou, E., Spataru, C., & Bleischwitz, R. (2016). Wind offshore energy in the Northern Aegean Sea islanding region. EEEIC 2016 - International Conference on Environment and Electrical Engineering. doi:10.1109/EEEIC.2016.7555518

Spataru, C., & Bouffaron, P. (2016). Chapter 22 – Off-Grid Energy Storage. In T. Letcher (Ed.), Storing Energy with Special Reference to Renewable Energy Sources (pp. 477-497). Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-803440-8.00022-1

Zafeiratou, E., & Spataru, C. (2015). Investigation of high renewable energy penetration in the island of Syros following the interconnection with the national grid system. Energy Procedia, 83, 237-247. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2015.12.178

Spataru, C., Koch, A., & Bouffaron, P. (2015). Multi-Scale, Multi- Dimensional Modelling of Future Energy Systems. In A. Vesco, F. Ferrero (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Social, Economic, and Environmental Sustainability in the Development of Smart Cities. USA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-8282-5.ch007


Dr Catalina Spataru’s book Transitioning Island Nations Into Sustainable Energy Hubs explores the theoretical and practical aspects of energy solutions and provides a baseline understanding of developments and challenges on islands