Slovenia - Country Commercial Guide
Energy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-07

Overview

Roughly one-third of Slovenia’s electricity comes from hydroelectric sources, one-third from thermal sources, and one-third from nuclear power (with non-hydro renewables constituting

imported petroleum purchased on global markets.  Russia provides most of Slovenia’s natural gas, which accounts for 12 percent of overall energy consumption.  Slovenia uses approximately 0.8 billion cubic meters of gas annually. 

The government approved a national energy and climate plan in February 2020 to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, support renewables, and increase efficiency.  The framework document envisions meeting EU climate targets through improved energy efficiency, public awareness campaigns, developing new sustainable energy technologies and advanced energy systems, and transitioning away from fossil fuels toward low-carbon renewables such as solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear energy.  However, the plan failed to include specific recommendations or concrete proposals as to which energy options – coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar, hydro, etc. – should be developed to meet Slovenia’s future energy needs consistent with its Paris Agreement commitments.  

Slovenia is seeking to gradually transition to low-carbon energy sources by focusing on efficient energy consumption, increased use of renewable energy sources, and the development of active electricity-distribution networks.  This strategy will likely envisage a strong continued reliance on nuclear energy and further development of hydroelectric power.  Energy experts warn Slovenia’s energy producers must optimize, digitalize, become more efficient, and develop products and services for export to meet its 2030 carbon emission goals, which are anticipated to cost between EUR 600 million and EUR 2.5 billion. 

Increased hydroelectric power generation will likely be an important part of the government’s energy policy.  Plans include further upgrades of the upper stations on the Sava River and completing a chain of six new plants on the lower Sava.  The government has invested in a series of hydropower plants since 2004 and recently announced construction of new hydropower plants on the middle Sava River, with expected investments of EUR 1.7 billion.  There are also plans to upgrade three plants on the Drava River, and feasibility studies are underway for additional small hydroelectric power projects.  Together with the new plants, these renovations will create an additional 470 MW of hydroelectric capacity by 2024. 

Slovenia currently operates one coal-fired thermal power plant – the 600 MW Thermal Power Plant Šoštanj sixth unit (TEŠ), which came into operation in 2014.  In March 2021, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced plans to phase out coal by 2033, adopting a more ambitious timeline than was initially considered.  The phase out of coal would include the premature closure of the TEŠ sixth unit, which has a lifecycle until 2054.  However, the Slovenian government has not yet adopted the plan, which would also have to receive approval of the Parliament.   Separately the government is also considering gas-fired power generation, including a 60 MW unit in Šoštanj.  One new gas-fired unit in Brestanica went online in 2018 and another one in June 2021.

While the gas and oil markets have made progress toward privatization, electricity production remains largely in state hands.  Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE) owns and manages a series of electricity production plants, primarily hydropower and Thermal Power Plant Šoštanj.  GEN Energija manages a nuclear plant as well as several hydropower units.  GEN Energija has prepared tentative plans for a second nuclear production facility at the Krško nuclear power plant to provide 1,000-1,600 MW by 2030.  In July 2021, following Parliament’s approval of Slovenia’s long-term climate strategy, the Ministry of Infrastructure issued the energy permit for the second reactor at Krško nuclear power plant, sending a strong signal on the future role of nuclear energy in Slovenia’s energy mix.  The energy permit allows GEN Energija to move forward with the planning process for the second reactor, including finalizing the location, conducting the environmental impact assessment, obtaining the building permit, and determining financing options, and selecting the vendor.  Despite Krško’s recent lifecycle extension through 2043, forecasts show Slovenia will be unable to meet domestic energy production needs by 2025.  Westinghouse supplies Krško’s fuel rods, Urenco supplies its fuel, and, in 2017, the U.S. firm Holtec won the contract to develop a dry cask nuclear waste storage facility. 

Slovenia uses approximately 0.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, accounting for about 11 percent of the country’s energy consumption, most of which is based on a take-and-pay contract with Russia’s Gazprom.  The state-owned gas company Geoplin signed a five-year natural gas supply contract with Gazprom in 2018 to import 600 million cubic meters of Russian natural gas per year.  Gas storage facilities are limited, however, with companies dependent on infrastructure in Austria and Croatia. Slovenia’s natural gas infrastructure company Plinovodi hopes to work with Hungary’s FGSZ to construct a new gas interconnector to link Hungary and Slovenia, a project the EU has designated as a Project of Common Interest and which qualifies for funding through the Connecting Europe Facility.  Investment plans in the transmission and distribution system also include the modernization of national dispatching and local distribution control centers, the renovation of the transmission grid, better control of reactive power in the system, and the completion and renovation of the east-west 400 kV transmission with Hungary.  However, a lack of financial resources has postponed these projects.  

Slovenia also plans to build three wind-operated power plants in the Primorska region, where the Bora (north-south) wind could produce significant quantities of electrical power.  Each of the three plants would consist of 150 wind-powered turbines.  The government is currently in the midst of a lengthy approval process complicated by local community opposition efforts.

The Slovenian government has identified green transformation as a priority for its national recovery and resilience plan, allocating at least 43 percent of the EUR 2.5 billion funds requested from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility toward this transformation.  These efforts will include improving energy efficiency in buildings, increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix, and increasing public transport options.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Fuels and lubricants (wholesale)
  • Motor fuels (retail)
  • Distribution of electricity, gas, heat, and hot water
  • Mining

Opportunities

Slovenia increasingly imports power to meet growing domestic consumption and could face shortfalls in the near future, particularly in view of its limited financial resources and the long regulatory approval process required for new hydroelectric or nuclear capacity.   Slovenia has an effective electricity grid and is pursuing opportunities to partner with neighboring countries to build and strengthen natural gas interconnections, as well as opportunities to increase access to and markets in Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and the Western Balkans.  Slovenia’s energy companies are active in developing innovative electricity transmission and distribution solutions, while the country’s energy infrastructure is among the strongest in the region.  Slovenia’s electricity prices are among the lowest in Europe, providing the country’s companies with important advantages over foreign competitors. 

Resources

Ministry of Infrastructure, Langusova 4, SI- 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

E-mail: gp.mzi@gov.si 

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Dimiceva 13, 1504 Ljubljana, Slovenia

E-mail: info@gzs.si 

 

U.S. Commercial Service

Matjaž Kavčič, Senior Economic Commercial Specialist

Phone: +386 1 200 5644

Fax: +386 1 200 5555

E-mail: DoingBusinessinSlovenia@state.gov