The Slovenia Times

Vrtovec and Commissioner Simson stress importance of renewables


Brežice - European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, accompanied by Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec, started a visit to Slovenia on Monday by visiting the Brežice hydro plant. The pair stressed the importance of renewable energy sources with Vrtovec saying the resources offered by nature should be used and invested in.

According to Vrtovec, the visit was to stress the importance of renewables in Slovenia, and present the Brežice hydro plant's exemplary use of the water potential while preserving the environment.

Slovenia would like to invest in renewables more, including with the help of the EU, so that this "important pillar" would continue to increase, the minister said.

Simson and Vrtovec also exchanged views on efforts for a coal phase-out. Vrtovec told the commissioner the ministry had already issued an energy permit for the second unit of the Krško nuclear power plant and wanted to continue to cooperate with the European Commission.

He said he was happy that the Commission and Simson placed great emphasis on renewables, and that his team would do "everything to have hydro plants built in the future as well, starting here in Mokrice".

Simson pointed to the green deal, adding she was happy to see how individual countries approached it. It is a serious deal and a constant process, she said, expressing hope that common ground would be found on all goals during Slovenia's EU presidency.

The new financial framework will enable co-financing of various energy measures and renovation of buildings. Regions faced with changes due to abandoning of coal will also receive support, she said.

A fair transition is crucial, including for Slovenia, she said.

Commenting on the coal phase-out, Vrtovec said that by losing the TEŠ coal-fired power plan, which could become insolvent in a few months, an important pillar of electricity would be lost, a third of electricity production.

If this happened, the dependence on electricity imports would increase, which nobody wants, he said. According to Vrtovec, several solutions are possible, but the TEŠ management will need to prepare them.

The only unacceptable solution would be for the state to provide the funds, she said.


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