Maribor, 18 June 2021 – Environmental and social responsibility are two of the fundamental values of the company Dravske Elektrarne Maribor, the largest producer of electricity from renewable sources (which operates as part of the HSE Group), which are pursued in managing the existing facilities and in those that are planned to be built. Since building the first hydro power plant in the Slovenian part of the Drava River, we have been aware that we are only guests on the river who utilise its water power to produce electricity, and that our obligation and commitment to future generations is to preserve the river and riparian areas in a way that is most appropriate for coexistence of the environment, people and production facilities. It was precisely the latter where the paths of Dravske Elektrarne Maribor and the Maribor City Municipality have met and resulted in projects of sustainable multi-purpose development on the banks of the Drava River.
The bold and comprehensively envisaged plans of the Maribor City Municipality for development of riparian areas have connected us in the following two projects:
- Sustainable multi-purpose development of the banks on the left side of the reservoir of the Mariborski Otok Hydro Power Plants, which followed from the objectives of sustainable development of the Bresternica Lake area. Dravske Elektrarne Maribor, as the contractor of the work, has been tasked with including in the development the ecological functions of the lake, landscape and functional aspects and, in addition to energy use and nature protection, taking into account the possibility of improving the tourism, sport and recreational use of the lake.
A “natural amphitheatre” has thus been created on the left bank of the Drava River, south-east of the former Motel Jezero in Bresternica, consisting of nine eight-metre benches intended as a stopping place for cyclists and a venue for other visitors to peacefully observe the Drava and what is happening on it (including the activities of the local rowing club, whose premises are in the immediate vicinity and whose members achieve top-level results in national and international competitions.
- Development of a service path between Melje and Metava. In a bid to pursue the development of new activities without hampering the basic water management and energy activity, this year the company Dravske Elektrarne Maribor started developing a service path that will, by means of upgrades and additional development and marking by the Maribor City Municipality, provide a safe path for cyclists – as part of the Drava Cycling Trail – and pedestrians.
It should be noted that the banks of the Drava River in Maribor are artificial structures (constructed for the needs of the operation of the Zlatoličje Hydro Power Plant in 1968) and that, due to water pressure, there is always the possibility of collapse and flood risk to the surroundings. It is precisely because of the need to provide safety that constant control is required of the state of the banks of the hydro power reservoir, a task which is constantly performed by the expert service of Dravske Elektrarne Maribor. The development of the mentioned service path has upgraded the safety of the bank, while at the same time providing locals and tourists with a facility for recreation or relaxed walks.
These implemented projects are not the only ones in which we cooperate. Already this year, Dravske Elektrarne Maribor has and will continue to solidify and protect the bank in the Melje – Metava section and on the left bank of the Drava at the Lent location – from the Studenška Brv footbridge to the Old Bridge, thereby enabling the start of the implementation of work on the Drava Promenade project. Also being continued is the development of the service path on the right bank of the Drava River (through Maribor) that is, as a result of an additional investment – at least for the time being, before the start of comprehensive renewal by the municipality – more suitable for pedestrians and cyclists and more pleasing to the eye.
Andrej Tumpej, director of Dravske elektrarne Maribor, said on the occasion that: “The principal activity of the company Dravske Elektrarne Maribor is the safe and reliable production of electricity. In accordance with the concession contract for the energy use of the Drava River, we are obliged to maintain the river banks and, if we are able to upgrade them in the process so that they look nicer and are more useful for locals and tourists, we will always do so if we are able to. Therefore, I take this opportunity to ask the users of the mentioned areas not to despoil them, but to use them and, by doing so, maintain them for the benefit of all.”
Mayor of the Maribor City Municipality Aleksander Saša Arsenovič said on the occasion that: “I am happy with the exceptionally good cooperation between Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM) and the Maribor City Municipality. For their efforts to develop our common environment I thank the director of DEM and the expert teams that have implemented the project of the sustainable amphitheatre along the Drava that represents a sport and recreation as well as a cultural venue. We also cooperate well with Dravske Elektrarne Maribor in the area between Melje and Metava, where a brownfield site will soon be turned into a cyclist and pedestrian friendly area, and I must not forget about the cooperation in the project of development of the banks of the Drava River between Sodno and the Water Tower in Lent. All this is a good example of cooperation between businesses and the local community.”