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Renewable energy producers fear loss of investment due to revenues tax

By Natalie Weeks

Greece’s new tax on the revenue of renewable energy operators risks deterring investors just as the government is trying to spur economic growth, producers said.

“What we have is the sudden adoption of policies without any kind of study to back them up, so how can you discuss improving the investment climate?” said George Peristeris, president of the Greek Association of Renewable Energy Producers at a presentation in Athens today. Peristeris is also the chief executive officer of Gek Terna SA, a Greek construction and energy company.

The government passed a new round of austerity measures last month to secure continued financing under two international bailouts from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The measures included a tax on revenue of existing renewable energy plants to reduce a deficit created by subsidy payments to the industry.

“At the same time that the prime minister is saying Greece’s big bet is investment and growth, holding a series of meetings with multinational companies on the subject, the decisions of the government not only don’t bring new investors but cancel already planned investments and turn away local and international investors,” Peristeris said

Greece needs stable tax policies and market regulation so that investors can make long-term plans, Dimitris Lalas, board member of Greek Wind Energy Association, or Eleaten, said.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said that taking steps to attract investments is a key to the recovery. Greece’s economy, in its fifth year of recession, is expected to shrink 4.5 percent next year, according to Finance Ministry forecasts released Oct. 31.

About 260 megawatts of licenses for wind parks have been withdrawn until now, including 100 MW of licenses submitted by the Greek unit of France’s Electricite de France SA. Total installed capacity for wind energy was 1,740 MW in October, according to a document handed out at the meeting. Renewable energy investments in Greece totalled 3 billion euros ($4 billion) in 2011 and 2012 through October, the document showed.

[Bloomberg]

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