Electricity

Slovenia to invest EUR 3.5 billion in power distribution system

Slovenia to invest EUR 3.5 billion in power distribution system

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Published

January 25, 2023

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Published:

January 25, 2023

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Slovenia earmarked EUR 3.5 billion for the power distribution system in the next ten years, aimed at overcoming the challenges of the energy transition. The investments are part of the 2023-2032 development plan, which recently received a green light from the country’s Energy Agency.

The development plan for the power distribution network from 2023 to 2032 should respond to the challenges regarding decarbonization, decentralization of electricity production, and mass electrification – the introduction of electricity as the main energy source in transport and heating, SODO said.

Slovenia plans to invest EUR 3.5 billion in the power distribution system by 2032, to adequately respond to increased electricity demand. The development plan was approved by the Energy Agency of the Republic of Slovenia.

The document envisages increasing the capacity and resistance to disturbances, as well as improving and using the flexibility of sources and consumers in the electricity distribution network, to match the users’ sustainable needs.

The upcoming ten years mark a turning point for European and global climate ambitions for the electricity sector

The upcoming ten years mark a turning point for European and global climate ambitions for the electricity sector and it is paramount to move faster than ever before, the statement said. SODO noted it is necessary to decarbonize the energy sector and electrify final consumption.

The distribution system will have to maintain supply security and reliability and increase competitiveness on the path to a climate-neutral European Union.

SODO drafted the document in cooperation with the country’s all five distribution utilities. The plan is aligned with the National Energy and Climate Plan – NECP, or NEPN in Slovenian.

The company is nominally Slovenia’s distribution system operator (DSO), but the power distribution companies are the ones owning the infrastructure, so they perform the role under contract. The system consists of Elektro Ljubljana, Elektro Celje, Elektro Gorenjska, Elektro Maribor, and Elektro Primorska.

Planned investments by 2032

SODO said it would invest in the replacement, expansion, and installation of power lines, improvement of grid observability and management, digitalizing the system further, and the introduction and use of flexibility services that would be provided by the system’s users.

The bulk of the funds, 72%, was earmarked for the low and medium-voltage networks. Within the segment, EUR 1.2 billion would be allocated for the low-voltage grid, while 12% is for the 110 kV network and 8% for secondary equipment.

The development plan envisages increasing the share of underground medium-voltage lines from 38% to 60% and growing the percentage of underground low- and medium-voltage from 53% to 71%.

The necessity of development strategy for the next decade

Changing the ways of using electricity poses a major challenge for the Slovenian electricity network, as capacities are limited, especially in the distribution network.

The energy sector must remain safe and secure. Work on cybersecurity will be one of the most important tasks in the coming period, SODO said.

The Slovenian operator also stressed the country needs a strategy that would define in more detail the ways to achieve ambitious climate goals and ensure the reliability of the energy supply and the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy.

According to Euractiv, the current pressure on the renewable energy sector, especially on the solar power segment, has revealed weaknesses in the grid as households are waiting long for approval from regulators for solar rooftop installation projects, due to insufficient grid capacity.

Slovenia recently abolished network fees to reduce electricity prices and alleviate the energy crisis.

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob announced last summer that the electricity system needs to be prepared by 2025 to accommodate another 1 GW from solar power plants.

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