The Slovenia Times

PM talks investment as he visits hydro plant operator DEM


Maribor - Prime Minister Robert Golob visited on Monday Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM), a company managing hydroelectric power stations on the river Drava, to talk planned investments with the management. He toured their centre dedicated to leadership and lauded its know-how.

Know-how will be crucial for investing in the future, for an effective and swift energy reform or green transition, he said as he praised DEM's past investment strategies.

DEM director general Aleksander BrunĨko said that they had informed the prime minister of their plans and asked for the state's support in implementing them, especially when it comes to the administrative aspects of projects, such as siting and efforts to shorten certain procedures.

Golob believes that Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, could once again become the hub of the Slovenian electricity sector. It is not so important where the headquarters of the state-owned power group HSE are located, but where the money will be invested and the development will take place, he noted.

He has not ruled out a possible return of the headquarters from Ljubljana to Maribor in the future. "In the medium term, anything is possible. I don't dismiss this, but it's not a key priority," he said.

After Russia's gas giant Gazprom suspended gas supplies to Italy due to alleged transport issues, it is "only a matter of time" when this happens in Slovenia too, Golob said.

"Don't worry about it. I think Europe is already prepared for a full suspension of Russian gas supplies and that this is something we have to take as fact," said the prime minister. He believes that Gazprom doing this country after country means exerting psychological pressure on Europe.

"The sooner Europe accepts this, the sooner it will start to implement effective measures, and it will be easier to go through the winter."

Touching on a recent interview by Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer, in which he told daily Dnevnik that ski resorts were a big energy consumer and that it was possible the government would ban ski lifts from operating, Golob said that this was a misunderstanding.

He assured that there will be no ski resort lockdowns, but the plan is to reward those who will come up with energy-saving measures.

While in Maribor, Golob also visited a local grammar school to discuss with the students the current energy crisis. On the sidelines of the visit to the city, he announced his party's, Freedom Movement's, candidate for the upcoming mayoral race in Maribor - the former director of the UKC Maribor hospital, Vojko Flis.


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