The Slovenia National Committee aims to promote sustainable energy development in Slovenia, as a part of the World Energy Council’s energy vision. As a member of the World Energy Council network, the organisation is committed to representing the Slovenian perspective within national, regional and global energy debates. The committee includes a variety of members to ensure that the diverse energy interests of Slovenia are appropriately represented. Members of the committee are invited to attend high-level events, participate in energy-focused study groups, contribute to technical research and be a part of the global energy dialogue.
Ivan Šmon won a PhD degree at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and MSc degree at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics in 2006 and 2016, respectively. In 2015 he also finished the Master’s degree of Business Administration program at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana.
After receiving a PhD, from 2006–2010, Ivan Šmon was employed at the Slovenian Ministry of the Economy as the Undersecretary, where he was creating legal framework for Slovenian energy supply system and he also represented interests of Slovenia internationally. In 2010 he joined SODO – Slovenian electricity DSO, where he stayed for three years. He was responsible for operation of the company’s technical department. Since May 2013, Ivan Šmon has been with Elektro Gorenjska – the distributor of electricity. Currently is CEO of that company.
Ivan Šmon is president of National Member Committee of WEC, vice president of the Slovenian Eurelectric section and member of the Eurelectric Board of Directors. He is also representative of Slovenia in CIGRE Study Committee C6 (Distribution systems and distributed generation).
Energy in Slovenia
Comparing 2019 and 2020 results, Slovenia’s energy leaders define a Critical Uncertainties landscape which continues to be focused on EU Cohesion, but that also looks at technology and digitalisation issues in relation to climate concerns. Action Priorities stay consistent with last year’s perceptions, defined by Energy Efficiency, Renewables, Nuclear and Digitalisation.
EU Cohesion remains the biggest Critical Uncertainty. Concerns revolve around securing economic growth at the regional and national levels. The European Commission’s New Green Deal is expected to bring challenges, especially to smaller economies, as it impacts energy systems’ flexibility and adaptability. Tracking new European technologies, innovations and their implementation, together with an active cooperation with regional projects, will be crucial in the development of the country’s energy sector.
IoT Blockchain and Data AI enter the uncertainties space with higher perceived impact. Blockchain methodologies are extremely convenient and are welcome in complex energy and connected processes. While these digitalisation tools are developed and well defined, their acceptance among consumers needs to be accomplished in order to enable large scale adoption.
Climate Framework is also identified as a Critical Uncertainty with higher impact, as the country progresses slowly towards the objective of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Uncertainty emerges as the government and other sector stakeholders struggle to align on the priorities and national strategies to reach tangible carbon adaptation targets. In these debates, the emphasis on environmental requirements prevails. In 2018, the Slovenian government prepared an action plan for the closure of the domestic lignite mine, Velenje.
Nuclear leads the Action Priorities section and is strongly correlated with energy security as well as with environmental impact; long-term radioactive waste treatment is not managed as of yet. At present, the Krško nuclear power plant (NEK), which is equally owned by Slovenia and Croatia, covers about 40% of Slovenia’s electricity production. In 2016, the two countries agreed to extend NEK’s lifespan by 20 years, to 2043. Meanwhile, the government is discussing the possibility of building a second nuclear power plant with the aim of improving energy security, sustainability and affordability.
Digitalisation remains an Action Priority and is perceived with greater impact. Digital solutions are being supported to allow for renewables integration and efficiency improvement targets. Among numerous advanced smart grids, a pilot smart grid project was started in October 2018 and will run until March 2021 to prevent power outages, enhance grid performance and improve grid management.
Energy Efficiency continues to be perceived with low uncertainty and high impact and is aligned with digitalisation as an Action Priority. The draft of the Energy Concept from March 2018 sets goals for greater energy efficiency, including a gradual reduction of energy consumption, the development and commercialisation of renewable technologies and the growth of energy storage. The strategy has been re-defined as Slovenia’s Climate & Clean Energy programme.
With an evolving energy market, Slovenia has aligned its approach with the EU Clean Energy Package and provides subsidies for generation with renewable sources and CHP. The key priorities for the country are energy efficiency in all sectors, renewable energy, advanced energy projects as well as an accepted presence of nuclear power generation. Although one third of the electricity is generated from hydropower, there is a debate about its further utilisation in the future. Decarbonisation process in all sectors is underway; the natural gas is an option in this Energy Transition process. It is important that the Slovenian Energy Transition process keep a balance despite absence of a formal energy strategy. One of the methods for gauging the progress of Energy Transition is the World Energy Council’s Trilemma index, which helps to navigate national energy sector’s performance in relation to energy security, sustainability and equity.