Nova Gorica, 19 July 2023 – The management of Soške elektrarne Nova Gorica (SENG) and Holding Slovenske elektrarne (HSE) hosted the Minister of Environment, Climate and Energy, Mag. Bojan Kumer. They presented to him the projects and strategic goals of the HSE Group, the leader of the green transition in Slovenia, in the field of electricity generation from renewable energy sources, as well as the planned cross-sectoral cooperation with the Slovenian Družba za avtoceste Republike Slovenije (DARS) in the construction of solar power plants in the Primorska and Obalno-Kraška regions.

“Electricity consumption is increasing year by year, while Slovenia’s self-sufficiency has been declining for the third year in a row, which is one of the reasons why Slovenia needs to invest more in renewable energy sources (RES),” said Minister of the Environment, Climate and Energy, Mr. Bojan Kumer. He said that the Government is also making efforts, and is encouraged to do so by European recommendations and requirements, to make the process of integrating RES buildings into the environment simpler and faster. As an example, he highlighted the Act on the Introduction of Installations for the Production of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources (ZUNPEOVE) which has just been published today in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia and is indispensable for the achievement of the national energy targets, which are also foreseen in the updated Comprehensive National Energy and Climate Plan (NEPN). The Minister expressed his high praise for all the professional and support services involved in the preparation and development of energy projects within the SENG and wished them every success in their implementation. He also strongly supported today’s signing of an agreement on the cooperation of two state-owned companies in Slovenia’s sustainable transition.

“The HSE Group, as Slovenia’s most important energy company, plays a key and responsible role in Slovenia’s green transition,” emphasised Dr Tomaž Štokelj, Managing Director of HSE, and presented the Group’s ambitious plans to rely in the future on renewable sources from the sun, wind and water, as well as on geothermal energy, biomass co-generation and, last but not least, on hydrogen as an energy source, including for storage. He also commented on the need to build energy storage and other sources of flexibility, with a focus on pump-based hydroelectric power plants. He also stressed the importance of the Ministry and the Government in implementing the ambitious goals of the HSE Group, in particular in terms of adopting appropriate legislation to enable and, above all, accelerate the green transition, and welcomed the new act (ZUNPEOVE). The successful and stable performance of the HSE Group will also be of great importance in achieving these objectives. He said that the HSE Group’s performance in the first half of the year, both in terms of production and results, was above plan and stressed: “If there are no major shocks in the second half of the year, we expect this year’s business result to be one of the best in the history of the HSE Group.”

Mitja Gorjan, Managing Director of Soške elektrarne Nova Gorica, also commented on the current situation in the energy sector and said: “In the past, SENG mostly focused on exploiting hydro potential, but climate change demanded certain adjustments and a wider view of the exploitation of renewable energy sources”. He went on to talk about the company’s specific development projects, among which he highlighted as the most feasible the construction of the Kanalski vrh solar power plant and the solar power plants along the coastal section of the motorway crossing, which will turn an unusable degraded area into a useful one, with a potential of more than 20 MW of electricity.

The short- and long-term goals of DARS, including on the road to becoming self-sufficient, were discussed by  Mag. Andrej Ribič, Member of the DARS Management Board.  Among the important projects that have energy potential and a significant contribution to the achievement of Slovenia’s climate and sustainability goals, he highlighted the installation of solar power plants on unused land managed by DARS. “By signing the agreement, DARS and the HSE Group, a wholly state-owned company, will show that we know how to work together and how to work together in the future,” he concluded.

As a sign of their common interest in the construction of solar power plants along motorways, SENG and DARS signed an agreement on the implementation of a solar power plant project along the Primorska section of the motorway crossing of the Republic of Slovenia, which is the first of its kind and an exemplary example of cross-sectoral cooperation, as well as an important step on the path of Slovenia’s green gateway.