The Slovenia Times

Energy prices not expected to fall back to past levels


Ljubljana - Officials taking part in a hybrid debate held by the Institute of Strategic Studies do not think energy prices will fall back to earlier values, also because of the cost of green transition, which in turn also offers many opportunities.

"Energy prices will certainly not return to the levels we have known so far. Green environment comes at a cost," Blaž Košorok, a state secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry, told the debate themed Energy Fit for the Future.

He described the Slovenian energy sector as fit but said action was needed now to meet climate neutrality goal by 2050 and the coal exit in 2033 both to increase the share of renewables and energy efficiency.

There are plenty of financial resources available and Košorok is not worried about their absorption, but businesses need to prepare suitable projects.

He believes nuclear energy will have a key role in Slovenia; by building a second reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power plant Slovenia can secure a reliable supply for the next 80 years.

Another major new opportunity is Slovenian companies' projects abroad with Košorok noting solar plants built by Petrol in Croatia. He suggested reaching agreement with Croatia so those megawatt hours count toward Slovenia's meeting its goals.

Jože Bajuk, a management board member of Petrol, finds the idea of Slovenia cooperating with Croatia or other EU countries to achieve its goals "an interesting option".

He believes realistic assessment is needed of the potential to develop large wind or solar farms in Slovenia, both in terms of protected areas and public acceptability, as well as the energy potential. "There is certain potential in Slovenia too that we'll be looking for," he said.

Power generated by modern wind farms and solar plants has already reached competitive prices, not only given the current rather exceptional market conditions, but also the average in recent years. This technology has reached a break-even point where it no longer needs incentives to work, said Bajuk.

Košorok sees the future in decentralised production of electricity with self-supply communities as one option.

The new challenges and circumstances will be addressed in the update of the National Energy and Climate Plan that is being worked on now and could be adopted next year.

"We won't see the prices we've seen over the past couple of years for a long time, but they will be lower than current market prices," projected Dejan Božič of the state-owned energy group HSE.

Branko Žerdoner, general manager of steel maker SIJ Acroni, said its mid-term plans include building its own solar plant, a hydrogen plant and hydrogen pipeline system, using excess heat and building a battery storage facility.

Given the planned 40-50% growth in production, the company could in that way reduce its carbon footprint by 2030 by 25-30%. However, Žeronder said the state's support would be vital.


More from Economy