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Energy Official Voices More Doubt about New Generator

Portoroz, 11 April (STA) - A government energy official warned on Monday that the EU's potential commitment to a 30% cut in carbon emissions by 2030 would mean an early halt in the operation of the planned new generator at the Sostanj coal-fired power plant TES.

Head of the Economy Ministry's Energy Directorate Janez Kopac issued the warning at an energy conference in Portoroz as he sketched outlines of the national energy programme, which he said included three scenarios foreseeing the construction of generator 6 at TES.

He also cautioned that Slovenia would not be able to build a second reactor at its sole nuclear power plant if the EU substantially stiffened energy efficiency requirements for primary energy consumption by 2030 as well.

Energy utilisation rate of the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) is 33%, which means the "losses" in efficiency would have to be compensated elsewhere, "which is impossible for such a big unit and such a small country as Slovenia".

The long-awaited energy programme is expected to be submitted to public debate in a few weeks, but Kopac explained that the authors drew up three energy supply scenarios: a basic scenario, one envisaging a new nuclear reactor and a natural gas scenario.

Apart from those three, which all envisage the construction of TES 6, a project estimated at EUR 1.2bn, two extra scenarios have been drawn up which foresee an overhaul of generators 4 and 5 instead of the construction of generator 6.

The scenarios do not differ much in terms of the end price of energy generated by the new units, but they do substantially in terms of the cost of investment; the basic scenario investment is estimated at EUR 3.4bn, the nuclear one at EUR 7.4bn and the gas scenario at nearly EUR 4bn.

The cheapest would be the scenario envisaging the renovation of generators 4 and 5 and building two 400 megawatt gas power plants.

Kopac voiced concern about investment ability of domestic investors, noting that the TES 6 investment was roughly on a par with the assets of the entire HES group, Slovenia's biggest power producer which also owns TES.

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