In April 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia called on the Government of the Republic of Slovenia to establish a working group to prepare a timetable and a fair plan for the early closure of Velenje Coal Mine and the abandonment of fossil fuels at the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant. Based on this call, the Ministry of Infrastructure prepared documentation on the establishment of a government working group, which will be responsible for determining the Velenje Coal Mine closure timetable by the end of 2020 and coordinating the activities related to the decarbonisation, fair energy transition and restructuring of coal regions.
The working group will include the state secretaries of:
- Ministry responsible for energy (Ministry of Infrastrurcture) who will also lead the group,
- Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning,
- Ministry of Economic Development and Technology,
- Ministry of Finance,
- Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
The Velenje Coal Mine is the only mine in the country still opened for an exploitation since the closure of the brown coal mines at Zagorje, Senovo and Kanižarica under joint ownership of Rudnik Trbovlje-Hrastnik d.o.o. All of Velenje Coal Mine lignite output is used at nearby Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant, which is the one of the largest sources of electricity production in the country. Preparation of the legislation mandating the terms of a gradual closure of the mine and the plan for abandonment of fossil fuels at the Šoštanj Thermal Power will therefore have a significant role in the country’s future process of phasing out coal.
Photo: Pirtovšek Gregor