Ljubljana, 05 March (STA) - Slovenia's electricity output in 2010 was similar to a year before but electricity consumption has not returned to pre-crisis level, according to the latest issue of Economic Mirror of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD), a government think-tank.
Energy production in hydro plants remained high and was around a third higher than the long-term average in 2009 and in 2010, which helped total output high.
Consumption declined in 2008 by 5.4% (mostly due to an introduction of a less energy-intense aluminium production and receivership at a metals producer), followed by a 10.7% fall in 2009.
According to IMAD, the gradual economic recovery in 2010 brought an 8.1% increase in electricity consumption over the year before, yet the latter still lags behind the pre-2008 level for direct consumers, although retail consumption has almost reached it.
Slovenia recorded net imports of 574 GWh of electricity in 2010 (covering 4.6% of the energy needs), while in 2009, the country's surplus of hydro power resulted in net export of 315 GWh.
In times of higher economic activity and at normal water levels, Slovenia had to import much more power, IMAD wrote, noting that net imports in 2007 stood at 3,123 GWh or 23.1% of the total electricity consumption.
IMAD added that import and export levels notably exceed the net numbers and that Slovenia is also a transit country for energy, especially to Italy, which is the top European net importer of electricity.
Slovenia's total export contracts for electricity in 2010 stood at 7,448 GWh (up 208% over 2004), while import contract amounted to 8,022 GWh (up 89% over 2004).