Findings of 2013 green energy probe 'missing', says minister

The findings of an internal probe conducted in 2013 into the issue of green energy licenses entitling renewable power producers to sell electricity at higher prices under the mandatory purchase arrangements are missing from the Economics Ministry, Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens said on the public Latvian Television on November 6.

"It came as a surprise to me. The record-keeping system shows that the internal probe was conducted in 2013 but the document is missing from the ministry," he said.

Aseradens said he could not comment on the situation for now or claim that the document had been removed from the ministry on purpose but it was nowhere to be found.

It has now been decided to carry out a full audit of the mandatory purchase component system which is to be completed in six months, the minister said, stressing that he wanted the entire system to be scrutinized as there were a number of indications that not everything had been done in full compliance with the law.

The responsibility of certain officials for this also should be assessed, Aseradens said, pointing out that illegalities related to green energy licenses might have been going on for nearly ten years.

When the audit is complete, Aseradens will have questions to former economics minister Artis Kampars and the ministry's state secretary Juris Puce.

In February 2013, Daniels Pavluts, who was the Latvian economics minister at the time, ordered an internal probe into the issue of green energy licenses, which was to be completed by April 1, 2013. The probe was supposed to review the legitimacy of the decisions taken by the ministry's administration and to produce recommendations for the further course of action.

As reported, following the reports of possible fraud in several cogeneration plants, the Economics Ministry recently conducted inspections at several companies and found that they were not generating any power. Most probably, the power plants had been turned on just for the necessary 72-hour test period to get their licenses approved.

TV3 commercial television reported previously that its journalists had discovered that several companies that had failed to complete work on their energy projects still managed to keep their green energy licenses by providing power from portable generators during the tests carried out by Sadales Tikls power grid operator. If these companies are allowed to launch operations and sell electric power for an increased price as green energy it can cost consumers up to €100 million over the next decade.

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