Greek-German governments agree on 10-year green investment plan

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Newly elected Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made an official visit to Berlin yesterday for talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

The leaders agreed to establish a green investment plan for Greece for 2020-30, which will include backing for renewable energy development as well as other sectors such as waste management, electric vehicles and educational training.

The goal, said Mitsotakis, is to present the plan early next year at a green forum where Greece will present a list of investment opportunities. With German businesses already active in Greece, the aim will be to attract even more, Mitostakis said.

Merkel, who praised the unprecedented policy output achieved by the Greek government in its first 50 days in office, suggested the green forum should be an open invitation to the private sector and offered German expertise to draw up the clear policy frameworks required to attract private capital.

The Greek prime minister mentioned the financial travails afflicting state-owned utility the Public Power Corporation (PPC), and invited German businesses to help the entity prepare a new business plan that will be finalized this year and which will focus on renewables.

That change of direction comes after the recent appointment as CEO of George Stassis, whose background is in the clean energy sector.

The utility – which operates a huge financial deficit, in part due to an inability to collect electric bill payments – this week reduced the fees billpayers must contribute to finance renewable energy development and also cut tax while at the same time raising the price of electricity.

The changes are an accounting measure aimed at staving off bankruptcy for the utility and will not affect the net amount electricity users have to pay, according to the PPC.

The utility in May signed a memorandum of understanding with French firm Akuo Energy to help it invest in renewables. The electric company also recently acquired 45% of independent power producer Volterra’s two special purpose vehicles that own four wind parks in Greece with a total generation capacity of 69.7 MW, two of which are already operational.

The PPC also participated in Greece’s mixed solar and wind tender in April, however its 200 MW solar project was the only one which failed to win a contract – ironically because its bidding tactics were outwitted by German rival Juwi.