EU endorses Slovenia’s subsidies for energy security, renewables

The European Commission has endorsed Slovenian state aid to help subsidize renewable energy resources and some coal-fired power plants.

“I am pleased to approve aid for the promotion of green electricity and the security of electricity supply, especially as these are key objectives of EU policy in the fields of environment and energy,” European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said April 25.

The announcement marks the end of an in-depth investigation into state aid dating to early 2005. The amount of aid was not specified.

The commission retroactively endorsed some aspects of the Slovenian Electricity Act, which imposed surcharges on electricity consumers to help subsidize renewable energy resources including hydropower, and some lignite-fired electric plants.

At the request of the commission, Slovenia altered its payments to make certain that it gave the same subsidies to electricity producers inside and outside of Slovenia.

Refurbishing existing small-scale hydro and increasing capacity of large-scale hydro is part of the government’s renewable energy strategy.

Hydropower supplies about a third of Slovenia’s generation of 3,300 GWh per year. However, many of the smaller plants pre-date World War II and require refurbishment to remain operational. Renovation of hydro plants will increase their efficiency and could add as much as 150 MW to their capacity, the EU said.

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