Press conference was organized by Holding Slovenske elektrarne, Dravske elektrarne Maribor and Soške elektrarne Nova Gorica since World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March, is also significant to the HSE. Its hydroelectric companies – Dravske elektrarne Maribor, Soške Elektrarne Nova Gorica and Hidroelektrarne na Spodnji Savi – are together the largest Slovenian producers of electrical energy obtained from renewable sources. They have contributed over 70 percent, or 3,849 GWh towards the energy balance of the Republic of Slovenia.
The production of electrical energy in Slovenia follows the guidelines of the European Union with regards to sustainable development and towards achieving the goal of 25 % of the RES share in gross final energy consumption by 2020. Currently the RES share of combined gross final consumption is 23.5 %. The largest contributor towards this share is the HSE group with its existing power plants. Electric energy production in HSE group’s hydroelectric plants in 2016 contributed more than 70 % (3,849 GWh) of the total 5,487 GWh of electrical energy obtained from renewable sources towards the energy balance of Slovenia.
»The HSE group is therefore the largest Slovenian producer of electrical energy from renewable sources and all of our future plans will be focused on maintaining the leading spot within this field,«stated Gorazd Skubin, Director-General of the HSE, while emphasising that ever since its creation the goal of the HSE group has been to produce electrical energy with minimal environmental impact, complying with legislative norms and provisions while introducing the finest technologies which ensure the environmental impact is kept to a minimum. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of options and opportunities remaining for the development and exploitation of the hydropower potential of Slovenian rivers, and the HSE group remains focused on carrying out projects in the field of RES. »We will accelerate the procedures for location siting to begin with the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the mid Sava river and the river Mura as soon as possible, we will continue with our investment in the lower Sava river, where the hydropower plant chain will soon be concluded and we will also focus on numerous small hydroelectric power plants on the Drava and Soča river basins, wind power stations and production facilities for co-production of heat and electrical energy. We will also conclude the construction of mHE Kneža,« Skubin lists further, while adding:»all of these projects are designed to provide a safe, reliable, environmentally friendly and competitive electric energy production which represents the foundations of our vision for future business.«
On top of the new production facilities, investment in assets ensuring reliability of the production and reconstruction of existing hydroelectric power plants will be of importance in the nearby future. It’s worth noting that along with the numerous opportunities within the RES, the Slovenian power industry also encounters certain obstacles which the HSE manages to deal with more or less successfully. These are mostly complications with procurement of concessions for the use of water and harmonisation of spatial planning and other documents required for uninterrupted implementation of RES projects. The procedures for siting facilities for the production of electrical energy are complex and time consuming, while the Nature 2000 provisions present another big obstacle, since they’re in effect in as much as 36 % of Slovenia’s area. Stojan Nikolić, Chief Financial Officer of the HSE, adds: »Compromises between the power industry and the environment are crucial for the economically successful implementation of investments in renewable energy sources. On one side, the existing RES facilities, successfully sited and the most profitable facilities within the HSE group, ensure there’s enough potential to finance other projects based on renewable energy sources. However, the current conditions on the electrical energy market prevent economic viability of the RES projects, which makes future functioning of the RES support schemes in the Republic of Slovenia crucial for their implementation.«
In Dravske elektrarne Maribor d. o. o. (DEM), wholly-owned by the HSE, each year the most substantial share of electrical energy from the RES in the HSE group is produced at a very competitive cost. Within the framework of the described RES development strategy of the HSE group, activities are being carried out mostly on small hydroelectric power plants on Drava tributaries, in the field of wind power on the edges of the Kozjak region, in retaining the state land-use plan for the Kozjak pump storage hydroelectric power plant, as well as siting of the hydroelectric power plant on the river Mura in a harsh natural environment. Mag. Viljem Pozeb, the Director of DEM adds to this: »It’s not only on World Water Day, but every day, for almost a century, here at Dravske elektrarne Maribor we have been producing electrical energy from a renewable source. The river Drava is practically fully economically exploited, consequently our plans are focused on examining options for the construction of new production units; mainly small hydroelectric power plants on Drava tributaries, hydroelectric power plants on the river Mura and wind power plants in areas with with favourable wind conditions. Our actions when interfering with nature are responsible and we thoroughly examine all potential negative effects of the newly built facilities, since we’re aware that we are the ones carrying the responsibility for both the environment and people.«
At Soške elektrarne Nova Gorica d. o. o. (SENG), also wholly-owned by the HSE, they strive towards responsible energy utilisation of the water potential of the Soča river and its tributaries, while complying with strict environmental requirements. »Only with such an approach, quintessential to the entire HSE group, can we preserve the natural balance and beauty of one of the most scenic parts of Europe. When constructing hydroelectric facilities, using a large number of small hydroelectric power plants, all the principles of environmentally friendly and sustainable development are taken into account, especially since some small hydroelectric power plants operate in a very delicate TNP environment and Nature 2000,« statedMarjan Pintar, the Director of SENG.Consequently, all of their plans are focused on seeking the environmentally friendly development and versatility of the hydroelectric facilities – in relation to water supply, fish farming, recreational or tourist areas, flood protection and drought regulation.
In the field of sustainable development and renewable sources of energy, the HSE group also performs many high profile educational-informational and promotional projects. Companies in the HSE group participate in the Modra energija project, intended to encourage the environmentally friendly use of electrical energy. The most widely known HSE group RES project is most certainly is Modri Jan (www.modri-jan.si), the educational project for children in which the HSE prepares informative content for printed and online media in cooperation with nursery schools, primary schools and professional workers. Another project intended for older teenagers called Modra generacija (www.modrageneracija.si) is also being developed.