Renewables

Slovenia denies building permit for first wind farm

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Photo: Sina P. from Pixabay

Published

April 8, 2024

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Published:

April 8, 2024

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Slovenia is among the very few European Union countries without a single wind farm, and it will remain so after the government’s recent decision to refuse to issue permits for the installation of wind turbines at Pohorje and Rogla.

At a time when wind farms are springing up all over Europe, Slovenia occupies the embarrassing second-to-last place on the list of EU member states by total wind farm capacity, with 3 MW. The bottom place at the end of last year was held by Malta, with zero, while Slovakia has 4 MW, according to the latest statistics published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The Slovenian Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning has rejected, according to the Slovenian media, a request for a construction permit for 35 wind turbines at Pohorje, while the investor has withdrawn its request for 21 turbines in Rogla. The investor can still appeal the decision, as well as submit a fresh request.

Citizens oppose wind farms fearing an adverse impact on the environment

According to the website of the company Energija na veter, the project entails installing 56 wind turbines in three locations, with a total capacity of 196 MW. More precisely, there are two projects – wind power plant Slovenska Bistrica I (122.5 MW) and wind power plant Slovenska Bistrica II (73.5 MW).

Representatives of a citizens’ association opposing the wind farms claim the fight is not over yet, because the investor can file a fresh request, which, they say, is already happening. Members of the associations say they are against wind farms because they would greatly affect the environment.

Last year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning received nine negative opinions or requests for additional documents from institutions that give opinions in the process of issuing a building permit for the planned wind farm at Pohorje.

Subsidies for local governments do not help either

These include the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy, the Water Management Office, the offices for environmental protection, forestry, and the protection of cultural heritage, as well as the municipalities of Slovenska Bistrica and Ruše and the Ministry of Defense.

Slovenia launched procedures for the construction of its first wind farms more than four and a half years ago. In the meantime, it has approved national zoning plans for three projects – Ojstrica, Paški Kozjak, and Rogatec, with a total capacityof 46 MW, whose investor is state-owned power utility Dravske elektrarne Maribor (DEM), and the Dolenja Vas project, developed by Austrian company AAE.

However, these projects have not made much progress, and one of the latest attempts by the Slovenian government to change something is offering to pay local governments 200,000 euros per megawatt of wind farm capacity if they allow construction on their territory.

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