New York. – By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
In an interview with Greek TV station ANT1 on Saturday, January 12, about the results of Mitsotakis’ visit to Washington, the Minister of Development and Investment, Adonis Georgiades – who was a member of the delegation – announced that one of the largest renewable energy companies in the US intends to invest in the solar and wind renewable energy sectors and in the manufacture of batteries.
He also said that a delegation of high-tech US companies would visit Athens in March, and that in early June there will be a special forum to promote investment in Greece by US companies.
Although the Development Minister did not name the company, Greek News knows it is Invenergy, a Chicago-based company which, in 2007, maintained an Athens office that closed due to lack of business.
Chicago is the city where the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) is based. HALC is a Greek American-based organization very active in Greek national issues which, in cooperation with the American-Jewish Committee (AJC) pioneered the promotion of the EastMed Law for Energy and Security Partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean. Executive Director of HALC is Endy Zemenidis, who was formerly Senior Advisor to Illinois State Treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias.
In October 2017, HALC – which aids every Greek national effort regardless of party affiliation – also pioneered the organization of former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ contacts in Chicago, only to be criticized by an official from the office of then-opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
In an effort to persuade company management that things have changed in Greece, that Greece is a strategic ally of the US, and the company can now fearlessly invest with attractive terms, HALC executives have asked for the help of US Ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt.
Geoffrey Pyatt has been accompanying Greek ministers and delegations of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce on tours and investment road shows in various US cities, promoting Greece’s new image and its pro-investor profile.
Incidentally, Pyatt was accused by the incumbent Prime Minister of supporting SYRIZA, and for his activities, while Antonis Diamataris, the recently resigned Deputy Foreign Minister for Greeks Abroad and then-publisher of the “National Herald”, asked for his resignation.
In October 2018, at the invitation of HALC, Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt visited Chicago, and made a presentation at the Invenergy headquarters about the situation in Greece and the investment opportunities available. Company management was impressed, and it was decided to organize a delegation to Greece in the following months, which, in fact, occurred. Note that Ambassador Geoffrey Payatt, in a speech at the Hellenic American Chamber in January 2019, mentioned the interest shown by Invenergy.
In Greece, Invenergy’s delegation met with Energy Minister George Stathakis and other government officials as well as then-opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Indeed, they were impressed by the current Prime Minister’s deep knowledge of renewable energy issues and this was an important factor for their decision. The prospects were very good – especially for Greece’s islands – and the opportunities were great. As the elections were drawing near, however, the company decided to wait until then.
Following the change of government, Invenergy was one of the companies that attended meetings Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Development Minister Adonis Georgiades held with investors in New York in September. Note that in our article after the ND victory, we had noted the interest of some energy companies that had decided to invest in Greece, including Invenergy.
The company was among those which Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Georgiades met during the Prime Minister’s visits in Washington. Invenergy posted 10 days ago an announcement seeking to hire an International Development Officer with the task of “supporting renewable energy and gas projects mainly in Greece, while supporting business growth in Southern and Eastern Europe and possibly elsewhere. It is a medium- or long-term contract and will be based in our offices in Athens, Greece.”
Invenergy, is one of the six biggest owners of wind energy parks in the USA and the leading wind energy developer in North America. Invenergy is also operating in Mexico, Latin America, Japan, the UK and Poland and it has developed some 150 projects with a total capacity of 24,100 MW, covering the electricity needs of 4.77 million households, according to the company website.
The Chicago-headquartered company, which employs 950 staff members at posts around the world.
THE DFC LAW
In the same interview with ANT1, Mr. Georgiades also referred to President Trump’s signing of the DFC law.
“Since the Prime Minister’s visit to the US, Greece has gained first and foremost the US government’s full support for US investment in Greece. President Trump has already passed the Congressional Act, under which the major American DFC organization includes Greece, for the first time in our history, in the countries it finances. This means that from now on, all US companies that want to invest in Greece can apply for money and bail their loans. This is the way the US government is practically pushing American companies to bring money to Greece.”
“The day after our meeting with President Trump, we had a meeting together with the Prime Minister, with 22 CEOs of huge companies, Exxon Mobil and Blackrock. We’re at a table where the financial power was in the trillions of dollars. We have already closed the mission of US high tech companies in Athens in March, and in early June there will be a special forum of US companies to invest in Greece.”
“In Athens, I will announce to one of the 22 that one of the largest renewable energy companies in the US is coming to open an office in Athens and intends to invest in solar and wind power, but, as well, in the manufacture of batteries”.
**** Translated by Vicki James Yiannias