bneGREEN: Energy chiefs say Slovenia must invest in renewables to cut power imports

bneGREEN: Energy chiefs say Slovenia must invest in renewables to cut power imports
/ bne IntelliNews
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje March 15, 2023

The heads of Slovenia's key energy companies, ELES, HSE and GEN energija, said on March 15 that the country urgently requires investment in new low-carbon production units and renewable energy sources, as the average import dependence of over 30% in 2022 is unacceptable.

The directors of ELES, HSE and GEN energija, Aleksander Mervar, Tomaz Stokelj and Dejan Paravan respectively, have met to discuss the circumstances affecting the country's energy market.

They agreed that last year Slovenia experienced an unprecedented energy crisis, with strong fluctuations in energy prices caused by a variety of factors, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which triggered an energy crisis across Europe.

The speakers agreed that government and energy company measures had been effective in controlling the situation, as they had ensured reliable power supply, HSE said in the statement.

Although the short-term electricity supply was stable, Slovenia's long-term dependence on energy imports is not sustainable, they said.

The country even looked as far afield as Indonesia last year, importing around 60,000 tonnes of coal for the TES power plant. 

Overall, the meeting highlighted the need for continued measures, including energy-efficient practices, at all levels, to address challenging energy situations.

It was also emphasised that the country must invest in renewable energy sources to reduce import dependence in the future. The government is already supporting solar power plant projects as part of Slovenia's green transition. 

During the peak of the crisis, Slovenian energy companies ensured a reliable supply of electricity despite the outage of their hydropower production due to a record drought, as well as the overhaul of the nuclear power plant NEK and the saving of coal in the Sostanj thermal power plant (TES), HSE said in the statement.

When NEK and the TES 6 unit were not operating last October, still there were no problems with the supply of electricity in the short term, even though Slovenia was then more than 56% dependent on imports. During the month, Slovenia’s net electricity generation totalled only 530 GWh the lowest monthly level in the last 19 years.

Energy chiefs said that the implementation of stability measures for electricity production enabled reliable operation of NEK, which received permission to extend operation until 2043, the successful rehabilitation of Premogovnik Velenje coal mine and the increased use of biomass, which enable the uninterrupted operation of TES, as well as the upgrade of TPP TEB. 

In January Slovenia’s net electricity generation totalled 1,214 GWh of which 43% was produced by the sole nuclear power plant Krsko, 29% by the hydro power plants and 22.5% by the thermal power plants. However Slovenian imported 814 GWh of electricity in January and exported 682 GWh while available quantity for the local market was 1,323 GWh.