UCL Energy Institute


Eleni Zafeiratou

Thesis Title: Renewable Energy Integration on the Greek Islands following their Interconnection with the National Grid System

Primary supervisor: Dr. Catalina Spataru
Secondary supervisor: Prof. Raimund Bleischwitz

The Greek power system consists of 32 isolated power networks located on the Greek islands. Currently, on the islands oil-fired burning power stations operate with increased electricity generation costs and high levels of GHG emissions. The islands’ power grids are only allowed to absorb a renewable energy share of maximum 25-30% of the hourly load demand, while the rest is curtailed. Also, high demand discrepancies between the summer and the winter months are recorded leading to frequent power cuts.

In the context of an integrated electricity market, a number of future interconnections between the islands and the National Grid System have been proposed by the Greek government, including 15 autonomous power systems. The principal aim of these islands’ interconnections is to secure a reliable and sustainable electricity system being capable of exporting the energy surplus produced from renewables to the main consumption centres in the mainland. The main objective of this research project is to examine the impact of these interconnection plans in parallel with high RES deployment, on the Greek electricity system under the Energy Trilemma Index (Energy Security, Energy Sustainability and Energy Equity).

Current studies focus mainly on the technical aspects of interconnections limiting RES expansion to onshore wind, with limited understanding of the economic and environmental implications at a national level. This study aims to assess through a number of future scenarios up to 2050 the optimal combination of resources, electricity generation technologies, energy storage technologies and submarine interconnections while applying demand side response management. This assessment will take place in order to satisfy future electricity demand, reduce GHG emissions and power generation costs through a cost benefit analysis.

In this research project, PLEXOS integrated energy model will be predominantly used to simulate future islands' interconnections and assess the techno-economic & environmental impact of RES expansion under a high resolution spatio-temporal analysis.  Sensitivity analysis will be applied by incorporating a number of demand and supply side assumptions into the model under a multi-criteria decision process. Also, the implications to the national grid system will be examined to assist policy makers and the islands system operator to evaluate interconnections’ feasibility and create a replicable methodology for other island complexes.


Eleni graduated with a Civil Engineering diploma (MEng), from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in 2011. Following her graduation, she did further research at NTUA, in measuring the carbon footprint from tourists using airplane as a mean of transport when traveling to Greece. Additionally, she worked as an assistant engineer and supervisor in solar energy installations in Greece. Later on, she was awarded with an MSc distinction degree in Environmental Systems Engineering from the University College London (UCL). At the same time, she was working as a research assistant at UCL in the «Common Road to 2050: Energy Networks and Policy (ENP)» project.During her MSc programme she acquired important knowledge in energy scenarios as both her dissertation and ENP project focused on future energy scenarios (UK and Global). 

Currently, she is working as a renewable project developer in Greece while she provides engineering consultancy services with focus on solar & wind projects as well as buildings retrofitting. Her position involves preparation of energy and environmental reports as well as data analysis for licensing renewable projects. Simultaneously, she is pursuing  a part-time PhD at the UCL Energy Institute. The area of research is relevant to her working experience in renewable energy projects. As such, she is examining future energy planning for transforming the Greek islands to renewable energy hubs.

The area of research is relevant to her working experience in Renewable Energy Projects. As such, she is examining future energy planning for transforming the Greek islands to renewable energy hubs. She is investigating possible solutions (including policy, technical, environmental as well as economic factors) for developing scenarios under the scope of improving the current unfeasible energy system in the non-interconnected islands which still use oil as a primary power source. 

Eleni uses WindSim, Ecotect, Autocad, Matlab, PVsyst and various other software tools for modeling, data analysis and design. She speaks Greek and English fluently while she has a good knowledge of German and Italian languages. 

Publications and other work

Zafeiratou, E., Spataru, C., Investigation of high renewable energy penetration in the island of Syros following the interconnection with the national grid system, International Conference on Sustainability in Energy and Buildings (SEB 2015), 2015

Zafeiratou, E., Spataru, C., Potential Environmental and Economic Benefits from the Interconnection of the Greek Islands. Global Conference on Global Warming, 2015

Zafeiratou, E., Spataru, C., Past Trends for the UK Energy Scenarios: How close are their predictions to reality?, Energy Procedia Journal, 2014

Spataru, C., Drummond, P., Zafeiratou, E., and Barrett, M., Long-term scenarios for reaching climate targets and energy security in UK.  Sustainable Cities and Society, 2015

Spataru, C., Zafeiratou, E., Barrett, M., An analysis of the impact of bioenergy and geosequestration in the UK future energy system in 2050, 2014

S. Pieri, V. Sakagianni, E.  Zafeiratou, I. Tzouvadakis, Evaluating the Carbon Footprint associated with air travel from EU Member Countries as well as Switzerland and Russia to Greece, 3rd International Energy, Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainability Workshop & Symposium (ELCAS), 2013

Common Road to 2050: Energy Networks and Policy Design Project, UCL Energy Institute

Oxania Project Water Distribution in Abyan Delta, Department of Civil and Geomatic Engineering