SPEF chief: ‘Cooperatives offer investment opportunities’

SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, is examining the prospect of soon establishing a multi-membered cooperative to offer exisiting small and medium-sized investors greater investment opportunities in the renewable energy sources (RES) sector, the association’s president, Stelios Loumakis, disclosed during an interview with energypress.

Loumakis explained that such models, offering hundreds of united smaller investors the ability to proceed with investments they could otherwise not take on alone, have been successfully applied in other European markets, including the RES sector, for many years.

Responding to a question on a general distrust felt by local entrepreneurs for collective efforts and whether this could impede the formation of a cooperative, the SPEF head noted that bright examples exist in the Greek market. He cited the country’s pharmaceutical wholesale market, a multi-billion euro sub-sector in which cooperatives hold a dominant market share.

Loumakis said such success could be repeated in the RES sector, considering the widespread expertise in this domain.

The unification of many cooperative members, numbering 500 to 1,000 members, for example, can raise considerable capital amounts for projects and make bank loans unnecessary, Loumakis remarked.

SPEF is looking into forming a cooperative to invest in the wind-energy sector, expected to provide investment opportunities as a result of the new RES support framework being prepared by the government, Loumakis noted.

Current photovoltaic sub-sector tariff levels are insufficient for new investments, while this field will remain a low-priority area for at least the next two to three years, he added.

The SPEF chief estimated that between 30 and 50 MW in RES capacity could be developed by 2020 through cooperative initiatives.

The new RES support framework will include revisions that need to be adopted to adjust to technological developments, ensure that national targets for 2020 are met, and gradually implement the European target model, Loumakis stressed.

The association’s top official described the energy ministry’s plan to proceed with revisions that will eliminate distortions prompted by the current RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included in electricity bills as vitally important.