Slovakia has excellent wind conditions but must remove barriers to wind energy

WindEurope participated in the annual event of the Slovak Association of Photovoltaic Industry and RES (SAPI). The event was held under the auspices Slovakia’s President Zuzana ?aputová. SAPI presented its study on the potential of wind energy in the country and a panel was dedicated to how the Government can boost the build-out of wind.

Slovakia currently only has 3 MW of wind energy capacity putting it in the EU’s bottom three with Slovenia and Malta. Only 0.01% of Slovak electricity demand currently comes from wind. They haven’t installed any new turbines since 2003. Slovakia is missing out on the energy security benefits of wind and how it brings down electricity prices.

In its National Energy and Climate Plans the Slovak Government planned to build 500 MW of wind by 2030. They could build even more as they’ve good wind conditions. But it’s a struggle today to build new wind farms in Slovakia. The Government does not facilitate things. Most developers find the investment climate for wind farms unfavourable. Getting permits remains burdensome and takes a long time. The Slovak Directive on Standards and Limits for the Placement of Wind Farms does not have transparent criteria on how projects should be assessed.

Clearer rules and guidelines would encourage investors. The Government also needs to support the expansion of the grid – and lower the disproportionately high fees developers need to pay to connect their wind farms.

While barriers remain in place Slovakia is missing out on the wider societal contributions wind energy provides. The economy could benefit massively from more wind farms. Each new onshore turbine creates €8m in economic activity. Much of this money stays behind locally and local jobs are created in the process too. More wind farms will also help bring down electricity prices. And it will increase the country’s energy security by replacing energy imports from unreliable partners with green electricity generated within its own borders. Wind energy offers a chance to Slovakia that it should not let pass by, especially in these times.

WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu said: “Slovakia is not making use of its wind energy potential. Building more wind farms will help Slovakia reach its climate targets AND there are clear economic benefits too. Wind would boost the local economy, create jobs, reduce energy imports and increase Slovakia’s energy security. But developers struggle to build new projects. The Government needs to provide much more clarity on how to get permits and what is required for the Environmental Impact Assessment. Without improvements Slovakia will continue lagging behind its neighbours.”