STA, March 1, 2018 – The government adopted on Thursday a new energy concept, a framework document which sets the long-term national energy policy goals. The aim is to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, how to achieve them is left to operating documents that are yet to be adopted. Nuclear will continue to play a major role for some time to come.
The document takes as its starting point a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 relative to 1990 levels, which is the objective adopted at EU level. Milestones on the way to achieving the goal are not specified beyond 2020.
In general, the goals are to be achieved with improved energy efficiency, awareness-raising among energy users, the development of new sustainable energy technologies, the transition away from fossil fuels towards low-carbon renewables, and the introduction of advanced energy systems and services.
The transition to a low-carbon economy is expected to be gradual, with innovative clean sources of energy to be included "as soon as the solutions are technologically mature."
Solar is seen as "taking a share of the burden" in the transitional period, and it is seen as playing a major role at local and regional levels in conjunction with electricity and heat storage devices.
Wind energy is mentioned very briefly. The document says Slovenia does not have the space to erect very efficient wind farms, but there is wind potential outside protected areas whose exploitation should start immediately.
Biomass and geothermal are seen as having significant potential, though the former should be exploited in an environmentally responsible way and the latter is mentioned with just two sentences, its potential not quantified.
There is limited potential remaining for hydro power, which is already very well developed, with the document stressing that environmental issues need to be taken into consideration in building new installations.
The transition to a low-carbon economy thus relies to a large extent on continued use of nuclear energy, with the life of the existing Krško Nuclear Power Station slated to be extended by 2043.
"The energy concept opens a debate on the future use of nuclear, which will have to take into account long-term competitiveness and reliability of energy supply, and of course risks," the document says.
"We expect that the path to the decision on the long-term use of nuclear energy ... will be comprehensive and include a candid debate about the associated risks and possible other alternatives."
The document is the result of more than two years of debate, the preliminary guidelines having been presented in June 2015. A draft document was in public consultation from early December 2017 to 15 January.
The Infrastructure Ministry said it received 420 remarks, of which almost half were fully or partially included in the final version.
The energy concept will now be put to the National Assembly.