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Debate Highlights Renewable Energy Opportunities for Slovenia

Ljubljana, 13 April (STA) - Economy Ministry official Hinko Solinc told a conference on Tuesday that Slovenia cannot pursue the goal of a 25% share of renewables in its energy mix by 2020 only with imported technologies. It needs to produce at least some these technologies itself, which is an opportunity for Slovenian companies, he said.

Explaining that the government was drawing up a renewable energy plan, Solinc said it is already clear that Slovenia can only meet the 25% target by resorting to all available types of renewable energy sources as well as cut energy consumption.

Energy expert Peter Novak stressed that taking the renewables share to 16% to 25% will require a significant consumption cut, as the 6584 kilowatt hours used every year by the average Slovenian put the country among the most energy intensive EU countries.

While noting that experts expect energy consumption, now steadily increasing, to stabilise by 2020, Novak said that Slovenia can reach the 25% goal by increasing the use of solar and biomass energy as well as make better use of wind and geothermal energy.

He said that Slovenia would put up 120 wind turbines with a total capacity of 300 megawatts next year. Geothermal energy is another option, with experts assessing that 12 power stations could be constructed in Slovenia, each with a capacity of 15 MW.

Also planned is the construction of additional hydroelectric plants whose total capacity would amount to 100 MW.

The combination of all this could make the 25% target attainable, said Novak, estimating the cost at 1% of GDP a year.

Photovoltaics was given a prominent role in the debate as well, with Novak stressing that the field has taken off in Slovenia after the government changed the framework for financing. The plan is to set up solar power stations with a capacity of 10 MW this year.

Meanwhile, German Ambassador to Slovenia Matthias von Kummer pointed out that renewables are playing an increasingly important role in the energy supply in Germany and have helped secure 300,000 new jobs in the country.

The conference on renewable energy sources was hosted by the Slovenian-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the German Ministry of Economy and Technology.

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