February 15, 2011
Your headline of 2 February 2011 suggests that a new coal-fired power plant in Slovenia is, in some way, ‘subsidised’ by the state or by the EU. This is misleading: there is no public funding of the planned 600 MW Šoštanj power plant (TEŠ Unit 6).
The TEŠ 6 project is being financed by EIB and EBRD loans on commercial terms: loans from a consortium of private banks and capital investment by the plant’s owner, Holding Slovenske elektrarne d.o.o. It will replace the oldest units at Šoštanj, which are inefficient and polluting.
With the best available technology used at the new plant, as required by EU law, and its slightly lower capacity, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 35%. The plant will be CCS-ready. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme ensures that CO2 emissions from the EU as a whole remain capped – TEŠ 6 does not compromise the scheme or its targets.
When Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, it agreed to a timetable of major environmental improvements. At the same time, the country has to ensure that energy demand is met with sufficient and affordable supplies. In the electricity sector, indigenous coal is an important part of primary energy supply, bringing security, added economic value and employment. Coal reserves in the Šalek valley will last through to 2054 and the regional economy is heavily dependent on mining and power generation.
By 2020, Slovenia will need an additional 2.5 TWh of electricity generation and has ambitious goals for renewable power generation that will meet some, but not all, of this growth. The gap could be filled by imports, but not at an acceptable price, or by nuclear, but not quickly enough. The TEŠ 6 project allows Slovenia to move forward to a cleaner future and to a more prosperous future. This should be welcomed by other EU member states.
EURACOAL aisbl (European Association for Coal and Lignite)Author : Letters to the EurActiv editor