Energy Crisis

Slovenia’s HSE appoints Viktor Vračar as head of troubled coal plant TEŠ

Slovenia s HSE appoints Viktor Vracar head troubled coal plant TES

Photo: HSE

Published

October 21, 2022

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Published:

October 21, 2022

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Slovenia’s state-owned energy producer HSE announced a management shuffle. It said Managing Director Viktor Vračar would switch to leading TEŠ, the country’s only coal-fired power plant, which was temporarily taken offline amid supply issues.

Officials are insisting that the outage at the Velenje coal mine in Slovenia isn’t threatening the country’s energy stability. Still, the latest news from its owner, government-controlled Holding Slovenske elektrarne (HSE) shows it is taking the matter seriously. The supervisory board appointed Managing Director Viktor Vračar as the head of Termoelektrarna Šoštanj (TEŠ).

Finance reported that Tomaž Štokelj, an executive from GEN-I, is said to be the favorite to succeed Vračar as chief executive officer. He is a close associate of Prime Minister Robert Golob, who was head of GEN-I before the last election campaign started.

The nation’s only remaining coal power plant, which in turn depends on the only coal mine, suspended operations a week ago to stock up on the fuel for the winter while importing electricity is cheaper. The decision was prompted by a rock burst in Premogovnik Velenje, which cut the planned output for 2022 by an estimated 7%.

TEŠ will remain offline until the end of November unless power supply disruptions occur in Slovenia

The trouble is that nuclear power plant Krško is undergoing a regular overhaul until November 2, so Slovenia is currently buying electricity abroad to cover 75% of domestic consumption. The plan is to leave TEŠ idle through November 30 unless HSE needs to switch it back on in case of supply disruptions.

Vračar is taking over at TEŠ on November 8.

“Regarding the Slovenian thermal power plant, which provides a third of all Slovenian electricity production, he faces great challenges in ensuring the safe and reliable operation of the TEŠ energy facility and thus the supply of electricity to Slovenian companies and households. He knows the company TEŠ well, as he does the key tasks along the way, i.e. the green transition of TEŠ and the entire region,” HSE said.

Current Managing Director Matjaž Vodušek resigned this week, citing personal reasons.

TEŠ has been testing the use of coal imported from Indonesia.

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