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Industry endorses National Energy and Climate Plan

Ljubljana, 11 February - The Energy Industry Chamber endorsed on Tuesday the draft national energy and climate plan, envisaging measures in energy and climate change mitigation until 2030. But it also passed some remarks, including regarding new hydro power plants and a new reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Station (NEK).

Marjan Eberlinc, chairman of Slovenia's Energy Chamber, takes part in a conference on Slovenia's energy concept.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Marjan Eberlinc, the head of the chamber, told the STA that in general the ten-year energy and climate plan had been endorsed but that many questions remained unanswered.

The chamber is bothered by the fact that the plan does not envisage the construction of new hydro power plants or a new reactor at the NEK.

There are also no guidelines on how gas would replace fossil fuel at the TEŠ thermal power plant, Eberlinc said.

He also noted that this was the first such comprehensive document since 2004. "Unfortunately, no strategic document has been passed in this field in recent years; something always comes up, including the government's resignation."

This gives a lot of room for manoeuvre to interest groups, he said, which was why the Energy Industry Chamber welcomed the document.

Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Bojan Kumer replied that no initiative for a strategic document had come from the energy sector in the last decade either.

The public debate on the national energy and climate plan will end this week. The document is to be revised based on the remarks received next week and then it should be discussed by the government.

The European Commission said last week it expected the document, which was supposed to be sent to Brussels by the end of 2019, until the end of February.

Most critics said the plan was not ambitious enough and many were bothered by the absence of plans for new hydro power plants on the middle Sava.

In order for them to be constructed, environmental legislation will need to be changed. Subsequently, they could be included in the energy and climate plan in 2023, when first amendments are planned.

Martin Novšak, CEO of power utility group GEN, said the plan brought no clear guidelines for nuclear energy. Hydro energy and nuclear energy must be included in the plan, he said.

NEK can operate safely for at least another 40 years, which is 20 years longer than its planned lifespan, he asserted.

Stojan Nikolić, chairman of state power utility HSE, which owns TEŠ and the Premogovnik Velenje mine, said "hiding hydro power plants and the nuclear plant in some paragraphs is not only unacceptable in the long-term but also dangerous".

"We are willing to replace coal with gas, where necessary. We are ready to shut down unit five of TEŠ earlier than planned, but the national energy and climate plan does not take this into account. We are also ready to co-invest in the nuclear plant if our budget allows it," Nikolić said about HSE's ten-year plans.

© STA, 2020