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ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Commission approves energy policy till 2030

DISCUSSIONS on a proposal for Slovak energy policy are coming to an end. The Energy Commission of the Parliamentary Committee for Economy, Privatization and Business recently approved a proposed energy proposal worked out by the Economy Ministry. The proposal now awaits the cabinet's approval.

DISCUSSIONS on a proposal for Slovak energy policy are coming to an end. The Energy Commission of the Parliamentary Committee for Economy, Privatization and Business recently approved a proposed energy proposal worked out by the Economy Ministry. The proposal now awaits the cabinet's approval.

The document sets out a vision for the energy industry in Slovakia until 2030. The aim is to ensure a sufficient volume of energy, its effective use, safe and sure supply as well as maximum energy savings. The Economy Ministry would update the policy at least once every five years.

The Economy Ministry originally prepared the proposal for the beginning of this year but it aroused great concerns from professional associations and organizations. An insufficient focus on alternative energy sources was one of the chief concerns.

According to the current document, nuclear energy, gas and partially renewable energy sources should be the main sources of energy in Slovakia.

"The document is one of several alternatives for the future. We have not rejected the comments from professionals and we will work with some of them," said Ján Rusnák, the chairman of the parliamentary committee.

"It is positive that the topic of renewable energy sources appears in the document. We consider it important because energy prices are continuing to grow," he added.

Rusnák thinks that the policy proposal as it currently stands is a compromise that is neither against the business sphere nor against consumers.

According to the proposal, by 2015 the ministry assumes it will have built a fluid boiler at the thermal power station Nováky and a hydropower plant on the Ipeľ River. Also, new facilities using renewable energy resources and newly combined utilities for the production of electricity and heat will be constructed, in addition to the completion of the third and fourth blocks at the Mochovce nuclear power station.

Slovakia needs to invest about Sk117.3 billion (€3.02 billion) into energy resources up to 2015. Out of this Sk14.9 billion (€380 million) is needed for expanding existing production capacities and Sk102.4 billion (€2.64 billion) will be used to build new production facilities.

Based on the proposal, the Economy Ministry expects that Slovakia will face its biggest electricity shortage in 2009. Slovakia's estimated electricity consumption at 30.5 terawatthours (TWh) should exceed its production capacities by 4.4 TWh in 2009.

Anticipated electricity production in Slovakia indicates that local electricity production between 2007 and 2015 will not cover the projected consumption.

The Economy Ministry ascribes the shortfall to a decision from 1999 to close down two blocks of the V1 nuclear power station of Jaslovské Bohunice by 2008. Until this time Slovakia may, thanks to the modernization of the thermal power station in Vojany and the construction of new energy producing facilities, achieve increased electricity production capacity but will be not able to replace the production capacity of the decommissioned units.

The ministry assumes that Slovakia will have temporary electricity production excess as of 2015. "Thanks to the launch of the third and fourth blocks of the nuclear power station in Mochovce and building new electricity production facilities that use renewable resources, Slovakia should generate more electricity than it consumes by 2020," reads the document.


- Marta Ďurianová from SITA reports

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