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Utility HSE Plans EUR 1.5bn Investments in Renewables

Ljubljana, 26 March (STA) - HSE, Slovenia's biggest power utility, plans to invest some EUR 1.5bn in renewables over the next 20 years to retain its position of leading producer of green electricity, general manager Borut Meh told the press Friday.

Last year HSE plans to produce 7,654 GWh of electricity this year, of which 47% will come from renewable sources. Last year the production of green electricity amounted to 3,983 GWh, according to Meh.

HSE operates power plants on the rivers Sava, Drava and Soca. Meh said the Drava has been fully utilised but there is still potential on the Sava, Soca and Mura.

Construction is under way on the lower Sava, where the Bostanj plant has already been brought online and two more are being built. Upstream HSE plans to build nine hydro plants and one pumped-storage plant at an estimated cost of EUR 800m.

Several small hydro plants are valued at about EUR 200m and the pumped-storage power plant Kozjak in eastern Slovenia is estimated at EUR 350m.

The projects on the River Mura in eastern Slovenia are still in early stages of planning and have not been estimated yet.

In addition to hydro plants, HSE operates the coal-fired power plants Sostanj and Trbovlje.

The Sostanj plant is in the process of building the sixth generator at an estimated cost of EUR 1.1bn, which has been met with severe opposition from green groups.

Meh expressed regret that HSE is often "seen only through the steam coming from Sostanj" whilst forgetting the importance of HSE when it comes to renewables.

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