Renewables

Slovenia amends Energy Act to bolster efficiency, decarbonization

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Published

April 25, 2024

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Published:

April 25, 2024

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The changes to Slovenia’s Energy Act introduced incentives for renewables, decarbonization of coal regions and energy efficiency measures. Bigger municipalities are obligated to establish at least one renewable energy community. The country is banning fossil fuel boilers in residential buildings from the beginning of next year.

The National Assembly of Slovenia, which has 90 members, passed the Energy Act – EZ-2 with 53 votes in favor and 30 against, defining the country’s energy policy. It contains support measures and restrictions facilitating the transition away from fossil fuels. The law includes incentives for renewables and energy efficiency and mechanisms to draw European Union funds for restructuring the two coal regions.

The revision was necessary after several segments from the previous version were regulated with separate laws, the Government of Slovenia said. EZ-2 covers energy policy implementation at the national and local levels and the powers of the Energy Agency and the energy inspection.

In the energy infrastructure section, lawmakers defined the procedures for expropriation. The new Energy Act has provisions for managing capital investments within the government’s jurisdiction and the measures applied at times of energy supply crisis.

Local authorities must outline decarbonization efforts for next seven years

As for decarbonization planning at the local level, the law instructs municipalities to prepare local energy concepts (LEK) determining seven-year goals for energy saving, renovation of public buildings and the share of renewable energy sources. One such document can encompass multiple municipalities, but with measures for each of them.

Municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants must include in its LEK a plan to establish at least one renewable energy community. Of note, there are two kinds, as defined by EU legislation, and the other one is called citizen energy community. A renewable energy community was set up in January in Hrastnik.

One was inaugurated last month in Ajdovščina, and Ljubljana launched a community solar power project last year.

Within the framework of LEK, municipalities are obliged to prepare plans for abandoning fossil fuels for heating needs and select primary energy sources and products.

District heating has priority over individual devices

Energy-efficient district heating systems have an advantage over individual devices and technologies. But it doesn’t apply to buildings with annual heat requirements under 4 MWh and the ones using only renewable or low-carbon sources.

Slovenia is banning the installation of boilers on natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas in residential buildings for which the building permit applications are submitted after the end of the year. However, municipalities can grant gas distribution network concessions if a share of renewable gases of at least 80% is foreseen.

Legislators have arranged the use of the European Union’s Just Transition Fund for the revitalization of the sites of the Termoelektrarna Šoštanj (TEŠ) coal-fired power plant and the former Zasavje facility, and of the Modernisation Fund, for energy system upgrades.

Slovenia also enabled complementary financing of green transition projects that win EU tenders.

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