ECONOMY

Sinovel to use Greece as launchpad into Europe

The recent three-day visit to Greece by a 15-member mission from Chinese company Sinovel, the world?s second-largest wind turbine maker, confirmed Chinese interest in investing in this country?s renewable energy sources (RES) sector, originally expressed in April with the memorandum of cooperation it signed with Public Power Corporation (PPC).

Sinovel Wind Group Co Ltd is the biggest firm in Asia in its sector and is aiming at a dynamic entry to the European market. The memorandum it signed with PPC, during the visit by the latter?s chairman and CEO Arthouros Zervos to China, originally concerned Sinovel?s participation in the wind park at Rhodope in northeastern Greece, with a capacity of 210 megawatts and a budget of 220-250 million euros.

Now this interest is expanding to other investment in wind parks, including offshore parks too, as the Chinese mission to Greece showed during its meetings with Environment and Energy Ministry officials, the management of PPC and that of the PPC subsidiary for RES. The Greek side is seeking the inclusion of a wind turbine production unit in this country too, in the package to be agreed on.

?At the moment China is looking for a point of entry to Europe, and Greece could play that very role,? Yiannis Tsipouridis, the managing director of PPC Renewables, told Kathimerini, confirming Sinovel?s initial interest in such an investment.

Besides Greece, Sinovel also has agreements for investment in wind parks with Ireland, Great Britain, Spain and the Netherlands. In the context of its strategy for a dynamic entry into Europe, Sinovel is also promoting the certification of the engineering equipment it uses.

During the three days it spent in Greece, the 15-member mission also visited the two wind parks PPC has at Rethymno on Crete and discussed with PPC Renewables the main details for the two sides? cooperation. Negotiations will continue for the signing of an agreement in the near future.

Sinovel has a particularly weak presence in Europe and aspires to pave the way so as to capitalize on the expansion of the RES market on this continent. A production unit in Greece would also cover its needs from investment in the broader region of Southeastern Europe, not just in Greece.