Slovenian power distributors forced to reject solar requests
Date: May 31st 2022
Author: Valerija Hozjan
While new connection requests for solar energy self-consumption in Slovenia are increasing, power distribution companies are being forced to reject an increasing number of them.This is mainly due to the Slovenia’s power distribution network not being robust enough, especially at low-level voltages.
As a result, power distribution companies are expecting newly installed solar power plants for self-consumption to experience short-term problems connecting to the grid.
At the same time, due to a three-month government measure to battle high energy prices, distribution companies have lost revenues which will result in fewer grid investments this year and could complicate the situation even more.
However, connection requests are not the only problem.
In general, Slovenia is failing to exploit its renewables potential, according to Dejan Paravan, a board member of the Slovenian energy trading company GEN-I.
He said during a green energy conference in Brdo pri Kranju last week that Slovenia had not only failed to achieve its 2020 renewables target, but had recorded the worst results in the EU when it came to increasing renewable energy sources between 2010 and 2020.
Paravan said that the country has to drastically increase its renewable energy capacity, and especially solar, installing around 300 MW of solar capacity each year until 2030, if it wants to achieve its renewable targets.
Rooftop solar installations will not be enough, so the country must also shift to the construction of large stand-alone solar power plants, he added.
This will require major investment in both the electricity distribution grid and energy storage, as greater balancing flexibility will be needed to accommodate an increase in renewables.
According to Marko Topic, a professor and solar expert from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Ljubljana University, Slovenia has enough degraded land and rooftop potential to produce as much solar-generated electricity as it consumes in one year.
Meanwhile, Tomislav Tkalec from the Slovenian NGO Focus warned at a webinar last week that the next decade could be problematic for Slovenia as it is already failing to meet the goals set out in its national energy and climate plan.
In his opinion, it is questionable whether Slovenia will be able to achieve its 2030 renewables targets and the shortfall could be even worse if the EU decides to raise the 2030 renewables threshold to above 40%.
During the same webinar, Erik Potocar from the Slovenian infrastructure ministry said that Slovenia had to accelerate renewables deployment and that it would make sense for the state to identify and properly regulate the areas most suitable for renewables deployment before offering them to investors on the market.