Major wind farm planned on Pohorje Plateau

Slovenska Bistrica – The Pohorje Plateau seems to be attracting investors because of its potential for wind power generation. After five years of preparations, a large potential investment has been unveiled by the company Energija na Veter (Wind Energy), which would like to build 56 wind turbines in a part of Pohorje that lies in the Slovenska Bistrica municipality.

The owner of the special-purpose vehicle is the Swiss company Woc Group, whose seat in Zurich is the address of a lawyer of Slovenian descend, Petra Rihar, according to data by the AJPES agency for legal records. The Slovenian company is run by Mitja Hertiš.

The private investors have plans for two projects with 35 and 21 wind 3.5 MW turbines in the area of Trije Kralji and Areh in the municipality of Slovenska Bistrica. They would be built in phases and connected to the network immediately.

“If we wanted to produce as much electricity with solar plants as with 56 wind turbines with such capacity we would need around 400 hectares, while for the entire wind farm, cables and access roads we would need only 20 hectares,” Hertiš told the STA.

He said that in planning the project the investors had bore in mind that Pohorje was a skiing and tourist area on its way to becoming a regional park, so “all protected habitats, protected species” had been taken into account along with the well-being of the locals and the planned tourist development of the region.

All wind turbines would be located outside the area that is to become a regional park, he said, adding that they had also cooperated with the Bird Watching Association (DOPPS), which had helped determine potential locations of the wind turbines.

Energija na Veter is currently in the process of selecting the supplier of wind turbines and would not reveal the estimated value of the planned project. The investor is hoping to get some EU funding for the project.

The process of obtaining the construction permit is also still under way. While the Ruše municipality, through which the cables would run, seems to be on board, the municipality of Slovenska Bistrica has asked the Environment Ministry for a spatial plan and legislative provisions determining the distance of wind turbines from residential buildings, and for including the public in the permitting process.

“The current energy crisis, the extreme rise in the prices of energy and dependence on imports of fuel clearly show that we should all do what we can to create stability and predictability in energy supply,” Energija na Veter said, adding that the municipality would receive 3% of the revenue generated by the wind farms as compensation.

The project was included last year on the list of important projects for mitigating the economic crisis caused by the epidemic, the company said.

The Environment Ministry told the STA it had received several requests for construction permits for wind farms in the Slovenska Bistrica area and that they were still being reviewed.

The ministry explained that a spatial plan was required if the capacity of a wind turbine is at least 10 MW. Given the increased interest in wind farm projects the ministry intends to set the criteria and guidelines for building such facilities in the national and local levels.