Slovenia's Ministry of Environment, Climate, and Energy released a draft bill on renewable energy facility siting to accelerate the construction of wind and solar power plants by regulating spatial planning.
Slovenia lags behind in the use of solar energy, particularly wind energy, with only two operating wind turbines, Minister of Environment, Climate, and Energy Bojan Kumer pointed out. Kumer presented a draft bill on the setting of renewable energy generation equipment, emphasizing that it is intended to promote investment in sector.
Some environmentalists are critical as the proposition opens the way for simplifying environmental impact assessments.
Slovenia is following the European Union’s REPowerEU plan, which is envisaged to ramp up the deployment of green energy to phase out the bloc’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible.
The draft includes regulations for energy storage devices and the procedure for connecting power plants to the electricity network. The idea is to establish special areas for renewables but also to utilize noise barriers on highways, stretches of land near main roads and degraded agricultural land. Other suitable places for solar power are parking lots, roofs and former mining areas.
The ministry intends to enable the use of land for multiple purposes. The authors of the proposition argue that the original purpose would still have to be maintained. They want to introduce the possibility, for instance, to set up solar and wind power plants on artificial lakes and build wind turbines in forests.
Some biologists and activists expressed concern that floating solar power plants would harm aquatic life by depriving it of light and argued that there is no relevant scientific research. They also said such panels may heat the water too much.
Minister Bojan Kumer warned that Slovenia is lagging behind its targeted renewable energy share and that the compensation that it pays to other EU countries to make up for it is rising.
Currently, the renewables goal for 2030 is 27% but, according to recent announcements, an upcoming revision could lift it to between 35% and 45%.
The use of agricultural land and natural habitats for renewables has become a fiercely debated issue in Europe and beyond as it may impact food production and biodiversity.