In general, the district heating (DH) sector remains one of the most important pillars for heat supply in Slovenia, particularly in densely populated urban areas. The downward trend of the past years (2012-2016) in the number of consumers of heat connected to district heating systems (DHS) has turned. In 2017 it increased by 5.4%. In that year the heat supply was provided by 93 distribution systems from 55 heat suppliers in 64 Slovenian municipalities. Consumption from DH systems increased by 2.3% compared to 2016, and by 6.7% compared to 2015. At the same time 940 GWh of electricity were produced in co-generation of heat and power (CHP), whereas the share of heat from CHP accounted for 86.8% of all generated heat. The primary energy source of heat production remains coal (56% in 2017), followed by natural gas (26.5%). While heat from renewable energy sources reaches almost 13%.
On the basis of the Public Utilities and the Energy Acts, municipalities take the decisions on heat distribution. The heat distributor defines the technical requirements that must be considered for the design, construction, maintenance and other works on the distribution system, heat stations and internal heat facilities. System operating instructions regulate the operation and method of managing the DHS, technical and other conditions for its safe operation, conditions and procedures on how to connect to the DHS and other issues related to heat supply, including the rights and obligations of customers.
The use of excess or waste heat from industrial or service processes in Slovenia is in premature phase, but the volume of waste heat utilisation is increasing and is foreseen to become one of the key heat sources in the future. One of the likely most attractive heat sources is geothermal, particularly in regions where geological conditions enable successful and safe exploitation of heat from the ground. Their potential is currently being investigated and a map of corresponding areas with high potential drawn up. Currently one DHS with geothermal energy operates in Slovenia. There is also limited biogas potential, mainly as fuel for CHP plants. Biogas is mostly produced on farms or on municipal waste (water) treatment plants/centres. The solar thermal sector is not (yet) high on the agenda among sectors to be developed or supported in Slovenia.
KeepWarm is an EU-funded project whose objective is to accelerate cost-effective investments in the modernisation of District Heating Systems (DHS). It brings together eleven project partners from a variety of relevant sectors (energy agencies, national DHS associations, agricultural chambers, research institutes, consultancies on energy efficiency and NGOs) across Central and Eastern Europe.
The aim of the initiative, launched in April 2018, is to modernise DHS around the whole region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving system operations and promoting a switch to less-polluting sources, like renewables. The project partners strive to ensure that best practices for environmental-friendlier heating and cooling will be taken up across Europe, replicating KeepWarm’s approach in other countries and regions, even beyond the end of the project in September 2020.
Country project partner
Jozef Stefan Institute is the main technological institute in Slovenia. The focus of its Energy Efficiency Centre is on strategic energy planning. It supports policy makers on the latter, on renewable energy sources, the reduction of GHG emissions and air pollutants. It cooperates with government institutions, industry and other institutions. In KeepWarm, JSI will ensure the development of national and regional action plans for retrofitting DHS and support Slovenian pilot projects.
The Energy Agency of Savinjska, Šaleška and Koroška Regions (KSSENA) operates in 3 of the most forested Slovenian regions. KSSENA is an energy expert, focusing on renewable energy sources, rational use of energy and project management. It has been involved in several such projects at a national and European level and prepares feasibility studies, energy concepts and other documents for municipalities. For KeepWarm, it supports the development of pilot projects in Slovenia.