Friday, September 28, 2012

New nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice might be built in 2025

Week in Slovakia (September 24 - September 30, 2012)


Tuesday - 25th September 2012


A new factory for the manufacture of LED lighting was inaugurated in Ružomberok on Monday. (more information - automatic translation via Google Translate)

Wednesday - 09.26.2012


According to professionals the international technical standards need the best translation into Slovak. (more information - automatic translation via Google Translate)

Thursday - 27.09.2012


If the Slovakia imports more electricity than exports, the state budget will icrease. (more information - automatic translation via Google Translate)

According to the Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic Tomáš Malatinský the nuclear power plants will continue to form the basis of the balance of power system. Renewable energy sources will be additional resources. (more information - automatic translation via Google Translate)

A new nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice would be built first in 2025, said the Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic Tomáš Malatinský. The original plans were talking about the year 2020. (more information - automatic translation via Google Translate)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Study: The Future of the Druzhba Pipeline



The International Institute of Political Science (IIPS) at Masaryk University in Brno (Czech Republic) has recently released a new study which focuses on the future of oil supply through the Central Europe via the Druzhba pipeline. It explores threats endangering this supply route and potential cooperation between the CE countries. 

The English study "The Future of the Druzhba Pipeline as a Strategic Challenge for the Czech Republic and Poland" is the result of a one year long work within a research grant of the Czech-Polish Forum. It answers following questions: 

- Is there a danger of curtailment of the supply of oil via Druzhba to the surveyed countries?
- If so, what might be the mid-term implications of such situation?
- What is the possible position of the EU in solving this issue?
- Which actors would be affected by potential supply curtailment and how?

Proposed linking project of Bratislava Schwechat Pipeline  (BSP) is considered as one of the diversification routes which would expand the existing Russian pipeline network to Austria.

„For Austria it is an important diversification project, since Austria is currently supplied only by TAL (Transalpine Pipeline) and AWP (Adria-Wien Pipeline). The Slovaks perceive this pipeline as an essential project aiming to enhance the country’s energy security“ the study reads.

The study also provides an answer to the question whether Russia can possibly misuse oil supplies to put pressure on its customers, examines the state of the oil sectors in the Czech Republic and Poland, including position of the key players.

The current state and future development of infrastructure is also examined as well as an evaluation of Russian oil sector, including the analysis of recoverable reserves and export preferences. 

The study is available here.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Bratislava has the first fast-charging station for electric cars

Week in Slovakia (September 17 - September 23, 2012)


Monday - 17th September 2012


The Slovak company Eustream informed about acquisition of a 15 % stake in the Central European Gas Hub AG (CEGH). CEGH provides trading platform at the physical gas hub in Austrian Baumgarten an der March, wholly owned by OMV and close to Slovak and Hungarian borders. It is one of the leading international gas hubs in Continental Europe.  (more information)

Tuesday - 18th September 2012


Greenpeace Slovakia and 25 other non-governmental organizations have asked Slovak government to abolish its resolution of September 5, 2012. According to the resolution future state aid for coal mining and processing for electricity and heat production would stem from auctioning of emission allowances. (more information)

Wednesday - 19th September 2012


On Tuesday (September 18) Bratislava hosted a ceremonial conference „Central European Gas – Oil Transmission Corridor“. Discussions among leaders of Slovak gas and oil industry and business partners particularly from Russia focused on long-term experiences and further perspectives of cooperation. The Minister of Economy Tomas Malatinsky emphasized the position of Slovakia as a transit country for oil and natural gas from Russia to Europe. The present pipelines proved their high reliability and security. (more information)

The Members od Parliament approved on Tuesday theamendment act on the Energy performance of buildings, which governs the law on territorial planning and building regulations (Building Act) and takes over the relevant European Directive of May 2010. The methods and measures in the area of energy performance of buildings will take into consideration the outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-efficiency of buildings. (more information)

Thursday - 20th September 2012


Prime Minister Robert Fico still thinks about purchase of shareholding of the comapny Slovenský plynárenský priemysel. (more information - automatic translatiov via Google Translate)

The Slovak Ministry of the Slovak Republic acquires the equity participation of the National Property Fund of the Slovak Republic in the business of Slovak Electricity Transmission System 100% of entry on behalf of the Slovak Ministry of Finance SR. (more information - automatic transaltion via Google Translate)
 

Friday - 21st September 2012


In Bratislava electric cars may be charged in 20 minutes. Available infrastructure as an essential part and condition for development of e-mobility is slowly gaining ground in Slovakia. On Wednesday the first fast-charging station for electric cars was launched. Since yesterday there are four public charging places in Slovakia. The new one, located at Slovnaft petrol station in Petržalka, is able to fully charge the eco-friendly vehicle in 20 minutes. Charging is free of charge until the end of 2012. (more information)

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

In Bratislava electric cars may be charged in 20 minutes



Available infrastructure as an essential part and condition for development of e-mobility is slowly gaining ground in Slovakia. On Wednesday the first fast-charging station for electric cars was launched.

Since yesterday there are four public charging places in Slovakia. The new one, located at Slovnaft petrol station in Petržalka, is able to fully charge the eco-friendly vehicle in 20 minutes. Charging is free of charge until the end of 2012.

The new fast-charging point is a part of cross-border twin city project VIBRATe implemented in Bratislava – Vienna area. Consortium of Slovak and Austrian energy companies are aiming to create green highway between the two capitals and in the neighboring region. 

“Creating a network of charging stations and including electric cars into everyday operation, the VIBRATe project represents a complex and functional e-mobility model. Moreover, by building fast-charging stations we are contributing to greater comfort behind the steering wheel while offering further possibilities to effectively use emission-free vehicles in both city transport and regional transport,” says Andrej Devečka, member of the Board of Directors of Západoslovenská energetika (E.ON Group).

Recently another fast-charging point was installed in Vienna and the partners plan to launch two more at the Austrian side by the end of the year.

Wolfgang Pell, director for R&D at Austrian company Verbund, added: “Vienna, Lower Austria and Bratislava are becoming clean and energy efficient region. As electricity providers we can contribute to ensure energy efficiency, climate protection and safety of supplies also in the area of mobility.”



E-mobility perspectives in Slovakia

In April 2012 representatives of the power and electrical engineering industry established the Slovak Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA). They believe the potential for e-mobility in Slovakia is very high. They refer to very strong car production business in Slovakia and long-term cooperation between business involved and technology universities. The urban areas are the most perspective to push for alternative and innovative transport. 

“The city is supporting projects which have been neglected for 20 years,” said the representative of Bratislava municipality Petra Nagyová-Džerengová during launch of the fast-charging station. “Electric cars at least in the urban areas should be developed among the first ways of alternative transport,” she added. 

Developers of e-mobility in Slovakia are also looking for more partners, e.g. restaurants, cafés, petrol stations, hotels, parking houses or public institutions, that would make their private sockets available for charging electric cars.

Apart from charging infrastructure there is still lack of clear rules of where, to what density and what types of charging stations for electric cars should be built. There is still an open question about the support for electromobility – via various systems of direct subsidies (such as in Sweden, Spain or the UK), system of tax breaks (Denmark), non-financial incentives, formation of rate of electricity consumption for the ecological purposes of transport, etc. 

In spring 2012 the Ministry of Economy confirmed it would like to use German National Electric Mobility Platform as an inspirational model for development in Slovakia and bilateral discussions with federal ministry have been initiated.  

First operating results

Despite many challenges analysis carried out by the VIBRATE project team confirms that green interconnection of the region and e-mobility are no longer just drafts on a paper.

Fifteen electric cars, having driven 56,000 km from January to June 2012, consumed 9 MWhs of electric energy and locally saved 5,600 kg of CO2 emissions. The average daily distance of 33-38 km shows possibilities of mainly urban usage.

VIBRATe project manager, Peter Ševce, describes external influences determining the electric car’s driveability and experience of 26 respondents: “Running distance of electric cars depends on the ambient temperature, usage of air conditioning and driving style. It’s between 80 and 130 km with fully charged batteries. Energy consumption is tied-in with the running distance, reaching 12 to 20 kWhs/100 km.“

The testing champions in the longest distance driven were Wiener Hilfswerk organization and Slovak Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The participants confirmed that the biggest disadvantage of e-mobility is still the high price of electric cars, yet they think positively of e-mobility. What they perceive as the greatest limit is the short running distance of electric cars, however the current running distance sufficiently covers their everyday needs of transport.

“The respondents see usage of electric cars as a way of saving operational costs. They would accept charging time of up to one hour and they would pay 2 to 5 euro for charging,” Peter Ševce added.




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Members of Parliament approved the amendment act on Energy Performance of Buildings


The Members od Parliament approved on Tuesday theamendment act on the Energy performance of buildings, which governs the law on territorial planning and building regulations (Building Act) and takes over the relevant European Directive of May 2010. The methods and measures in the area of energy performance of buildings will take into consideration the outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-efficiency of buildings.

Out of 146 present at the Parliamtn 112 members voted for the amendment and 36 members abstained. According to the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic the amendment only added and refined existing measures without conceptual change of legislation. The amendment will come into force on 1st January 2013, with the exception of the changes in the Building Act, they will tkae effect on 1st July 2013.

"The adoption of the amendment to the energy performance of buildings will have, in addition not only the economic effects, but also the positive impact on the atmosphere, such as reducing energy consumption in buildings and the production of CO2. There is added a new role for increasing the number of nearly zero energy buildings and intependent system of energy performance certificates and inspection reports," said the Ministry.

The Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the energy performance of buildings established a comparative methodology framework for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements for buildings and building elements. Energy certification of buildings in Slovakia carried out since 2008 and owners are responsible for making the certification at the completion of a new building or major renovation for existing building or when it is sold or rented. The validity of the energy certificate will be valid for ten years.

"The Slovak Republic, together with all EU countries give the attention on energy savings. Buildings currently represents more than 40% of final energy consumption, which affects not only the design, but also energy consumption for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting," said the Ministry. In Slovakia, the dominant energy consumption is for heating. Therefore, the Ministry considers reduction of energy consumption and using renewable sources in the building sector as very important and it gives adequate attention on it.

Negative impact on the state budget will have a new requirement for the establishment of a European independent control systems for energy certificates. The range and method according to Directive significantly distinguish from the established state supervision for energy certification, which carries State Energy Inspection

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Ministry of Economy: The electricity consumption was 28,862 GWh last year

The electricity consumption in Slovakia was 28.862 GWh last year. In comparison with the year before the comsumption increased by 100,5 GWh the growth was 0,35%.

"This trend can be characterized as stagnation in the development of electricity consumption. At the beginning of 2011, there was a trend of increase in electricity consumption and in the second half of last year the growth stopped," informed the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic in the report about the results of safety electricity supply.

The maximum load of the power system of the Slovak Republic was 4.279 MW, which was less than in 2010. The annual minimum was 2.162 MW, the decrease of 22 MW.

From 2000 to 2008, the total consumption of electricity in Slovakia increased annually on average by 0,7%. Due to the world economic crisis there was an impact on economic growth in Slovakia, the total consumption of electricity in Slovakia was 27.386 GWh in 2009. It was a decrease of 8,2%. Improvement of the economic situation was reflected in 2010, which had an impact on electricity consumption. In 2010, electricity consumption increased by 5% in comparison with 2009. In 2011, electricity consumption reached 28.862 GWh. It increased only by 0,35% in comparison with 2010.

"On the basis of electricity consumption in the first 4 months of this year, we expect that in 2012, electricity consumption will stagnate," said the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic. The Ministry of Economy expects in the next year increasing production level of 31,6 TWh. Electricity production will be higher than consumed and Slovakia could become a pro-export country.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Malatinsky and Medvedev talked about past successes, current tensions and future perspectives



On Tuesday (September 18) Bratislava hosted a ceremonial conference „Central European Gas – Oil Transmission Corridor“. Discussions among leaders of Slovak gas and oil industry and business partners particularly from Russia focused on long-term experiences and further perspectives of cooperation.

The event took place to celebrate the 50th anniversary of launch of international Druzhba pipeline, 45th anniversary of Brotherhood pipeline and 40th anniversary since the launch of first gas transit line through Slovakia.

The Minister of Economy Tomas Malatinsky emphasized the position of Slovakia as a transit country for oil and natural gas from Russia to Europe. The present pipelines proved their high reliability and security.

“However, today apart from these East-West routes there is also a current question of question of constructing North-South connections and securing the reversibility of the fuels,” Malatinsky said.

Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Gazprom, spoke about stability these projects have proven in spite of political changes, such as dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc.

“Demand perspectives are great,” he said at a press briefing. “We are able to supply as much gas as the Europe will ask for.” Medvedev added that Russia will use the old as well as new transmission corridors.

Bilateral and long-term contracts

In Bratislava the Gazprom representative also commented on current tensions with the EU.
"When we look at the price setting to the long-term contracts, I would like to remind you this system has been working for more than 40 years." He explained that the system reflects the interest of both the buyer and sellers.

Medvedev also pointed to periods when spot prices of gas were higher than those agreed in their long-term contracts and in that time nobody asked them to shift to spot prices. "I'm sure the old system will confirm its sustainability and viability in the future," he added.

Asked to comment on the proposal of increased role of the European Commission in bilateral negotiations and deals between EU member states and third parties in the area of energy, Slovak minister Malatinsky underlined that the EC enforces the interest of the whole European Union.

He understands the EC demand as legitimate but on the other hand he also understands the Gazprom position. “There will be conflicts in the future, too.”

Communist character

Medvedev reacted that he has also heard many exotic ideas but the current EC approach and push for united price on gas purchase reminds him of “communist character”. He referred to political decisions on price of shoes or salami in the former Soviet Union. Such an approach ignores the market functioning and is based on political speculations, he commented.

According to Medvedev, the European energy market is still in its beginnings and there is a difference between integration and regulation. Medvedev also explained that due to strategic position of the company and protection of Russian economic interests all questions from EC will be addressed to a special authorized body appointed by the Russian Government.

Trans-European connections

The pipeline operators are planning several projects to further integrate Slovakia into European energy map. With regard to oil the main discussions focus on construction of Bratislava-Schwechat Pipeline that would transport supplies to Austrian refinery and enable reverse flow as well. Another option to diversify supplies is better use of existing connection between Druzhba and Adria pipelines and modernization of the route. 

In his keynote address minister of Economy stressed that Slovakia actively participates in current EU activities of trans-European energy infrastructure and creation of regime for projects of common interest in gas sector. 

“Slovakia will continue to intensify activities on national and international level in the interest of maximization all measures needed to secure sustainable development in energy sector,” minister Malatinsky said.

In the framework of regional investment plan for 2012-2021 the Slovak gas transmission operator proposed three projects to be implemented in the future – modernization and upgrade of network and replacement of technologies due to environmental norms (commissioning in 2010-2016), Slovakia – Hungary interconnector (2015) and Slovakia-Poland interconnector (2020). The latter is specified as project of common interest according to EU rules.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

NGOs urge government to support energy savings, not coal



Greenpeace Slovakia and 25 other non-governmental organizations have asked Slovak government to abolish its resolution of September 5, 2012. According to the resolution future state aid for coal mining and processing for electricity and heat production would stem from auctioning of emission allowances. 

The NGOs warn that the measure contradicts EU directive on emission trading (Art. 10, par. 3 Directive 2009/29/EC).

„According to the European directive money from the new emission trading system in 2013 – 2020 should be primarily used for measures leading to further reduction of CO2 emissions, such as energy savings, renewable sources or adaptation to ongoing climate changes,” says Pavol Siroky, the coordinator of climate campaign at Greenpeace Slovakia.

In the official appeal NGOs warn that according to the government resolution “polluters will get back the fee they have to pay for emissions of greenhouse gases”.

NGOs also refer to a paper of Institute for Financial Policy, serving as “analytical capacity for the Ministry of Finance“. In March 2011 the Institute wrote: „Annually the citizens might save € 37 million together with smaller pressure on environment if we pay the hardworking miners in hazardous environment equal wage that would motivate them to retrain or retire early.“

Green jobs

The non-governmental organizations urge the government to support creation of green jobs, especially via Program for energy savings and support for renewables. In July the program was presented by Greenpeace to Slovak ministry of environment.

The proposed support should be aimed at regions where currently coal mining takes place. Backbone of the program would be renovations of residential and public buildings. Environmentalists believe it might create 10 000 jobs, improve social situation of approximately 200 000 households and decrease consumption of primary energy sources by 3 - 4 %.

“The sooner the search for new employment opportunities and recovery of these regions starts, the easier the change will be,” Pavol Siroky concluded. 

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