Slovenia’s smartest town

Idrija is a small town with rich industrial heritage, a home of two globally leading tech companies and a pioneer in adopting the smart city technologies

Slovenia’s smartest town

The Golden Stone award for the most sophisticated municipality in Slovenia this year went to Idrija. Idrija is a small town with a population of barely 12.000. Situated in a remote valley between the mountains and hills of western Slovenia – and yet one of the most cosmopolitan and technologically advanced places in the country.

As the location of the second largest mercury mine in history, Idrija has played the role of technological pioneer in Slovenia for centuries. Idrija’s rich industrial history is a part of UNESCO’s world heritage. This long tradition is being carried on by the two leading technological companies with headquarters in Idrija.

Kolektor, with production facilities on three continents, has for several years been a leader in the production of commutators, an essential part of electric motors. Now the corporation has three divisions: mobility components and systems, power engineering and engineering and technology systems. Hidria is the technology leader in diesel cold start systems which also produces state of the art power drive systems for electric cars, heating and cooling systems and other advanced components for mobility.

Idrija has been chosen by Japanese agency NEDO and the Hitachi corporation as the first pilot town in the Slovenian Japanese smart grid project. The main Slovenian partner in the project is the national power network operator ELES. The newly developed smart grid includes electricity storage systems, advanced distribution management systems and advanced tools for optimization of electricity consumption. Most of the technologies are provided by the Japanese partners, yet some are also developed by Kolektor. The goal of the project is a smart grid spanning from Idrija and other pilot towns throughout the entire country. While the smart grid is the town’s most important project, Idrija is also developing some other similar systems, which make it the leading smart community in Slovenia.

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