The energy system in South East Europe is corrupt, dirty and inefficient. On October 16 there is a chance to improve this.
If you live in the Western Balkans, please help us and call on governments and the European Commission to work on an energy system that is fairer, cleaner and more efficient.
Sostanj lignite thermal power plant unit 6, Slovenia
The Šoštanj lignite power plant.
Loans from the European Investment Bank (EUR 550 million) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EUR 100 million) add up to more than 50% of the overall costs of the investment.
Bankwatch and Slovene NGO Focus Association for Sustainable Development call on the EIB and EBRD to help identify and exploit renewable energy sources in Slovenia instead of locking the country in to carbon-intensive energy production for decades to come.
TEŠ6 promises higher efficiency, but not low-carbon energy
TEŠ6's promoters argue the power plant’s new unit will increase efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, but forget to mention that it will effectively prevent the necessary national emission decreases from taking place.
Operating TEŠ6 will result in emissions of 3.4 mt CO2 per year, which is equivalent to almost all of Slovenia’s emissions in 2050 (if it cuts emissions by 80 percent – a minimum according to the European targets of 80-95 percent).
Alleged corruption case at TEŠ6
(A campaign cartoon portraying the former and directors of the Sostanj lignite power plant.)
In a report from February 2012, the Slovenian Commission for the Prevention of Corruption issues serious warnings that:
"the project [TES 6] is designed and implemented in a non-transparent manner, lacks supervision and is burdened with political and lobbying influences, and as a result there has been [and still is] a high risk of corruption and conflict of interest".
Read more in our press releases:
The dirty French-Slovenian connection
February 23, 2012
The false hope of carbon capture and storage (CSS)
The CCS-readiness, claimed by TEŠ6 promoters, consists only of reserved space next to the construction site for an installation to capture CO2. This is as sophisticated as CCS-readiness can get, since the technology does not (yet) exist for a power plant of this size and its effectiveness is highly uncertain.
Environmental Law Service and the Bellona Foundation have analysed how CCS-readiness has been assessed for the Šoštanj project. The study (pdf) concludes: "[T]he information contained within the documents [...] does not allow for the assessment of the feasibility of the project – neither technical nor economic feasibility, nor the availability of suitable storage sites." 
Using the promise of CCS to muddy the waters, public money is being invested in Russian climate roulette.
Hidden long-term costs for Slovenian economy
Since initial project proposal, the project costs have already risen from around EUR 700m-900m to EUR 1.2bn. The wider economic consequences, however, are not reflected in this figure: Energy from coal has to take expected changes in the price of CO2-emissions permits into account. These permits will need to be purchased by Slovenia as part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Alternatives need to be identified
Slovene NGO Focus and Bankwatch believe that there is potential for renewable energy sources as yet unexploited in the country. Also the energy demand could be easily reduced by energy efficiency measures.
Slovenia is nearly 60% forested and there is likely to be further potential from locally sourced sustainable biomass.
Even the conservative governmental proposal for the National Energy Programme 2010–2030 (July 2011) shows in one of the scenarios that a future without TEŠ6 and new nuclear reactors is possible. This finding is further strengthened by an analysis of the Wuppertal Institute suggesting a higher potential for energy efficiency investments and development of renewables than envisaged in the Slovenian proposal.
European Parliament concerned about fossil fuel lending
MEP Kathleen Van Brempt in a question to the European Commission:
"If we are to achieve the EU 2020 objectives and to combat climate change […] we need to develop a suitable financial framework that provides support for projects and measures that contribute to achieving European objectives. The European Investment Bank (EIB) can and must play an important role here and build up its financial support in a way that makes a sustainable energy mix possible."
Šoštanj as a negative precedent for coal subsidies in CEE?
EIB and EBRD support for Šoštanj leaves the door open to the many more coal projects in central and eastern Europe seeking EIB financing. In Poland alone projects with a combined capacity of 12GW are being considered right now.
Without a clear commitment by European public banks, Slovenia and the rest of the region will not meet the EU’s emission reduction targets and will thus navigate Europe and the world away from a future with sustainable energy production.
Bankwatch believes that the IFIs should not lend for coal projects at all and should also phase out lending for other fossil fuels.
2. Bellona's general approval of the CCS technology is counter to Bankwatch's position. We do not believe that CCS is an option for solving the climate crisis.