With just one 6 kW wind turbine operating, Slovenia is a far cry from being a wind power nation and the outlook means it is unlikely to ever become one. The most promising sites for wind development are located in the country's mountain regions. But these are being eyed as national parks so government policy openly favours other renewable sources, such as hydropower and biomass, to meet its targets set by the European renewable energy directive. The directive requires Slovenia to increase the share of renewables in overall energy supply from today's 9.4% to 25% by 2020. Hydro and biomass account for over 90% of renewables power in Slovenia today.
Already aware that it will be unable to meet its goals of supplying 33.6% of electricity and 16% of total energy demand from renewable energy sources by 2010, the government is preparing an overhaul of its energy policy. It envisions wind capacity reaching 300 MW by 2010, rising to 600 MW by 2020.
Slovenia's government is using mandated purchase prices to kick-start investment in clean energy sources - particularly for wind, which despite the obstacles to project permitting is considered one of the country's most abundant renewable energy resources.
Under the current system, producers of electricity from renewable sources can choose to be paid a fixed power price set by the government or a production incentive paid on top of the wholesale electricity price. The fixed price for onshore and offshore wind plant up to 1 MW is EUR0.065/kWh, while the production incentive is EUR0.012/kWh. For offshore wind plant between 1-10 MW, the fixed rate is EUR0.062/kWh and the production incentive is EUR0.01/kWh. Fixed and premium prices apply for five years from the start of operation, after which they fall 5%. Ten years after the start of operation, they fall by 10% of the original price. Network operators are required to sign ten-year power purchase agreements with and renewable energy producers.
Meanwhile, as part of a sustainable energy program spanning 2007-2013, Slovenia has earmarked EUR410 million to subsidise between 15-40% of investment in renewable energy projects. Prime minister Borut Pahor has urged an advisory body formed in January to quickly draw up a strategy for clean energy, a priority, he said, which has been ignored too long.
Branislav Pekic, Windpower Monthly