Renewable energy players are strongly opposing the possibility of the government introducing a new levy in the sector, as being examined by Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. Greece is looking at ways to cover a deficit in a state green fund (ELAPE) that pays renewables producers their money. The shortfall arose due to the pandemic and a cut in the ETMEAR levy.
In a meeting last night between the minister and the representatives of the Hellenic Association of Electricity Producers from Renewable Energy Sources (ESIAPE) and the Hellenic Scientific Association of Wind Energy (ELETAEN), ie the two bodies that represent some of the largest companies in the industry, it became clear that the plans of the ministry, which have not yet been officially presented, are a big concern to the businesses.
According to sources, the business groups stated that they are open to dialogue, but stressed that they cannot take place before the ministry announces initial thoughts and proposals, along with data and studies on which it is basing its decisions on, ie reports from the Energy Regulatory Authority and the Manager of Renewable Energy Sources and Guarantees (DAPEEP).
Before, however, their announce their official and detailed position, the bodies clarified that they oppose plans to transfer the burden from the ELAPE deficit to the producers. Their proposal to the minister is to consider two other alternatives to cover the deficit: to seek funding from European funds (REACT EU program) or, in case this funding is not approved by Brussels, to cover the deficit from state funds. resources, as in Germany.
In fact, the business groups, warned of a big risk: if the ministry continues, without serious studies and data, to claim that most of the deficit is due to the effects of the pandemic, ignoring the impact of last year's decisions to reduce ETMEAR and at the same time reduce PC tariffs, Brussels will question the request for funds from REACT EU and the country will risk losing resources. "If we all want to exhaust the possibilities for funding from European sources, we must agree on a realistic request that responds to the real impact of the pandemic and support it all with all means," said the industry leaders.
Yesterday's meeting provided an opportunity for the business groups to express their dissatisfaction with the handling of the issue by the political leadership of the ministry so far. As it is emphasized, "the associations and companies that participated in the meeting with the minister requested it to be informed about the ministry's intentions. This is because until today there have been statements, speeches, interviews and various reports in the press, but no official information on how the ministry intends to handle the issue with the deficit of ELAPE. Their intention is to assist with ideas and suggestions in a dialogue that should be substantial and honest and not pretentious - in a dialogue without decisions haveing ben predetermined."
Furthermore, in a report that directly links the continuation of RES investments with the observance of fixed rules, institutions and companies underlined: "The basic principle of the dialogue should be the respect of obligations undertaken by an organised state that must show consistency and continuity. Which investor will invest in a country that constantly violates the agreements?"
Institutions and companies, moreover, expressed their intense displeasure with the way communications have been handled by the political leadership of the ministry, emphasizing that "dialogue cannot take place with prior targeting and accusations made against the other side." As they note, “it is sad that the industry is blamed and targeted amidst accusations of super profits and the fact that it has allegedly not suffered any consequences from the crisis and the pandemic".