Notis Mitarakis, the Greek Deputy Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks has revealed a list of five photovoltaic projects that have been granted "fast track" status by the state. Once completed, these projects will have a total capacity of 724.162 MW.
Mitarakis told journalists at a press conference last week that "in the coming months we will have the first positive signs from promoting large investment [in Greece]".
He accepted that the Greek legislative framework "remains quite complicated" with the issue of co-responsibilities between different governmental agencies being the most significant obstacle. For this reason, the deputy minister added, the Greek Government is now working on a new bill, which establishes a General Licensing Directory and which will come into force over the next few months.
However, Mitarakis claimed, licensing is not the reason "Fast Track" projects are not moving at the moment; rather "any delays are to do with the ability of the investor in this liquidity environment."
Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, also told the Athens Board of Commerce and Industry last week that the basic problem is liquidity. There are no projects, he said, which are excluded from the liquidity problem. "The key" Hatzidakis added, "is to complete the recapitalization of banks."
The Ministry from its side, Hatzidakis argued, has been doing what it can to increase liquidity in the market and this is the reason it is now planning the Greek Investment Fund, which will provide financial and technical support in key areas like energy. Its funds, the Greek Minister said, will come from both Greek and international institutions.
The Fast Track Greek photovoltaic projects are as follows:
- ILIAKO VELOS ENA: Development of a 200 MW photovoltaic park at the Western Macedonia Lignite Centre, Municipality of Kozani. €500 million budget;
- SPES SOLARIS - SOLAR CONCEPT photovoltaic Parks: Development of 39 photovoltaic parks totaling 131.2 MW in various municipalities. €301.5 million budget;
- SILSIO Photovoltaic Parks: Development of various photovoltaics parks around Greece totaling 126.82 MW. €248.2 million budget;
- SPES SOLARIS - SOLAR CONCEPT photovoltaic Parks: Development of 12 photovoltaic parks worth 166.142 MW. €332.284 million budget; and
- BRITE HELLAS: Development of a 100 MW Photovoltaic park at the Municipality of Drama, Northern Greece. €204 million budget.
The Fast Track Mechanism aims to accelerate the implementation of strategic investments in Greece, whether these consist of public-private partnerships or private-private ventures.
For a project to be granted fast track status, it needs to satisfy certain quantitative and qualitative characteristics, such as having a large budget, the creation of numerous jobs, that it promotes innovation and protects the environment. Therefore, fast track projects primarily concern large-scale investments, which aim to capitalize on the strategic advantages that Greece can offer on the global map.
Any investor applying for fast track status is also eligible to apply for any or all the benefits available for his investment in the Greek Investment Incentives Law, which may include capital subsidy, tax shield, interest subsidizations, etc. However, fast track is not a financing tool, as it doesn't provide money or subsidies. Rather it aims to facilitate speed, transparency and legal contractual certainty to investors.
Obviously, the temporary suspension of the photovoltaic parks licensing process that the Greek Government introduced in August 2012 does not apply for the PV projects that have been included in the provisions of the Fast Track Law.
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