Slovakia P.M.: Enel rental of 720-MW Gabcikovo invalid

Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico says his government wants to cancel a contract under which a unit of Italian utility Enel rents Slovakia’s largest hydropower plant, 720-MW Gabcikovo, on the Danube River.

Fico, who came to power in 2006, repeatedly has criticized the previous government’s sale of 66 percent of utility Slovenske Elektrarne to Enel for 840 million euros (US$1.1 billion). (HNN 11/16/06)

Fico said his government, which owns the remaining 34 percent of Slovenske Elektrarne, does not intend to change the privatization contract with Enel. However, he did say an accompanying agreement, under which Slovenske Elektrarne is renting Gabcikovo, is unfavorable for Slovakia and invalid.

“We will do everything to make the hydropower plant Gabcikovo produce electricity for Slovakia, and not for the Italian owner of Slovenske Elektrarne,” the prime minister said January 8.

Fico said Slovakia is losing about 1.5 billion to 2 billion crowns (US$57 million to US$76 million) a year from the rental deal. He said the government is preparing a full legal analysis of the sale of Slovenske Elektrarne and the Gabcikovo contract, which should be completed by the end of January.

Slovenske Elektrarne, which holds 85 percent of the Slovakia market, owns nuclear, thermal, and hydropower installed capacity of more than 6,880 MW. That includes a mix of conventional and pumped-storage hydropower totaling 2,399 MW.

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