The Slovenia Times

GZS debate hears energy transition will be key project


Ljubljana - Slovenia's transition to a carbon-free society will be one of the most important projects for the whole of society in which the cooperation of different sectors and the search for consensus will be key, heard a debate held by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) on Monday.

This is such an important and socially far-reaching decision that a broader societal reflection is necessary, said Danijel Levičar, chairman of the GZS Strategic Council for Energy Transition and a member of the management board of GEN Energija, a state-owned power company that manages Slovenia's half of the Krško nuclear power plant.

"The transition will be one of the biggest challenges for Slovenia, Slovenian society and economy," said Tibor Šimonka, GZS president, also stressing that a broad social consensus will be needed.

"The energy transition will be the biggest and most expensive project since Slovenia's independence," said Vekoslav Korošec of the GZS Engineering Association, who also works on the Strategic Council for Energy Transition.

The transition will involve the broader society - industry, transport, agriculture, energy, households and the state, he said, adding that the current energy crisis, which has been exacerbated by the war in the Ukraine, will accelerate the green transition.

Together with Marko Drobnič, chairman at Talum, one of the largest manufacturing companies in Slovenia, Korošec highlighted the importance of energy-intensive industry in the EU and in Slovenia in particular. Energy-intensive companies have increased their energy efficiency and feel they are a part of the solution in the energy transition, and not a polluter, they stressed.

Drobnič said that Talum had already achieved the emission reduction targets of the Fit for 55 package, and stressed the importance of maintaining aluminium production in Europe.

Aleksander Mervar, director of the national grid operator Eles, warned that the necessary investments in low-carbon manufacturing and in new transmission networks will lead to higher cost prices.

Even so, he said, electricity prices in Slovenia are "extremely low" and will rise - he expects prices to increase after the summer by up to 180%-200%. Mervar estimates that the energy transition will be costly in general.

The participants highlighted as key problems in both the industry and electricity distribution the lengthy siting procedures for new energy generation and transmission facilities.

Marjan Eberlinc, director of the natural gas transmission operator Plinovodi, said that the current capacity for natural gas transmission was sufficient, and there were plans to increase the capacity of the compressor station in Ajdovščina in western Slovenia, where the gas comes from Italy.

Eberlinc expects hydrogen to be available in the long term and synthetic gas and renewable gas will also be important.

Ana Vučina Vršak and Ivan Šmon from the Energy Chamber said that the chamber highlighted targets to ensure a reliable, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy supply, to develop sustainable energy solutions for Slovenia to become an economically successful low-carbon society, and to raise public awareness.

Youth representatives also took part in the debate. Izidor Ostan Ožbolt from the Youth for Climate Justice presented a proposal for action on the green transition that would take into account the limits of the environment or the planet and the social aspect.

Talking about future energy sources, he listed the increase in the use of solar and wind energy, hydrogen and synthetic gas, as well as the second unit of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.

Bojan Ivanc, chief economist at the GZS, meanwhile said that companies would need at least ballpark figures showing what production and sales prices would be in green production compared to today.


More from Economy