Slovenia to tackle energy crisis by adding 1 GW of solar – PM
Date: July 15th 2022
Author: Tanja Srnovršnik
Slovenia plans to add approximately 1 GW of large solar power plants by 2025 as a medium term measure to solve the energy crisis, said the country's prime minister Robert Golob on Thursday.This is one of three power supply measures that Slovenia's government presented yesterday. It instructed infrastructure minister Bojan Kumer, who is also in charge of the energy sector, to prepare - together with the TSO Eles and DSO Sodo - a plan to increase solar power plant capacity by 1 GW by 2025 at suitable locations, thus tripling the current solar capacity.
Golob told the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija late on Thursday that the goal is to build these large solar plants at locations where the grid is strong enough to handle the additional capacity. The units will be connected and supply electricity to a third of Slovenian households at a known price via a community platform, he said.
The government also declared the first stage of emergency in the power sector, after the Slovenian Energy Agency declared an early warning stage for the gas sector earlier this week.
“This measure is intended to make people aware that they should think about rationing, and above all to make Slovenian power producers aware of the need to create strategic fuel reserves for this winter. All fuels. And according to the responses that we have received, they have already started preparing plans,” said Golob.
In line with this, the infrastructure minister was ordered to establish working groups to prepare for the operation of Slovenia's gas and power systems in crisis situations, while in tandem with Eles and Sodo he also needs to draft preventive and preparatory measures for the implementation of power supply crisis scenarios.
The government has also decided to regulate the price of electricity for households and small business consumers for one year, starting on 1 September.
Infrastructure minister Kumer explained after Thursday's government session that while wholesale power prices have increased dramatically due to geopolitical reasons, the costs of domestic power production have not increased accordingly.
“Slovenia has one nice endowment, namely that its electricity production is mostly state-owned. In this supply chain [from producers to the final supplier] we have optimized costs so that producers can still sell, but with smaller profits,” Kumer said.
According to him, the government will present additional measures in the field of electricity and also measures for natural gas within two weeks. “As far as gas is concerned, we are already conducting procedures on how we will mitigate the high price on the one hand, and, on the other, ensure the reliability of supply and the supply itself,” added the minister.
Slovenia does not have its own gas storage facilities nor an LNG terminal, which means that it would be exposed to greater risks and consequences in the event of a possible complete and permanent interruption of gas deliveries from Russia, the country's energy regulator recently warned.