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Prime Minister Janez Janša at the opening ceremony of the new gas unit of the Brestanica Thermal Power Plant

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the opening ceremony of the new gas unit of the Brestanica Thermal Power Plant, where he was the keynote speaker. Prior to the ceremony, he visited the new gas unit, the gas tanks and the first gas units accompanied by the director of the Brestanica Thermal Power Plant Tomislav Malgai and the CEO of GEN energija Martin Novšak.

In his address, the Prime Minister spoke about the future energy supply of Slovenia and Europe. "The world has been in the electricity age for more than 100 years and this age is still going strong. We talk about the fourth industrial revolution, the green and digital transition, but no device works without electricity and so far there is no sign of a different future." He said electricity was a symbol of modern civilisation, as civilisation would cease to exist without it. He added: "In Europe, we have decided to become carbon neutral by 2050; this means a huge reorganisation and a very challenging transition." He said that Europe is aligned regarding its targets and the principal paths for achieving them. The European Commission will also define the level of national participation to ensure these targets are met and that will be the moment when the real decision-making begins in Europe. "When French President Emmanuel Macron and I reviewed the potential Green Transition dossier a month ago, it was clear that no alignment would be achieved in the next year. We see no way of achieving these targets without including nuclear energy in the calculations. Unless there is an unexpected rapid technological breakthrough, which is not something that is likely to happen." The Prime Minister also recalled the visit of Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of the Germany's state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the likely future Chancellor of Germany, with whom he discussed the green transition, energy and other outstanding issues. "He said very frankly that after the mines are closed, after building nuclear power plants is no longer allowed and with only so much sun and wind available, the balance sheets will not add up." According to Prime Minister Janša, we have a very challenging and difficult job ahead of us in this regard. The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU is under no illusion that it will achieve alignment within six months.

He went on to talk about the epidemic and how the only worse thing that could happen is that the electricity supply runs out. "Today, the electricity grid can also be taken down by cyberattacks, which is why defending against them will be one of the priorities during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU." Broadly speaking, however, the Prime Minister said that such a threat is also possible because of a flawed approach and a lack of long-term planning.

"What you have put in place here with the seventh unit, and the units before, is not only an economic project, but also an important part of national and European critical infrastructure." The Prime Minister congratulated those gathered on the smooth running of the investment, for starting up the operations within the planned timeframes and for operating in an environmentally sound and economically efficient manner.  "With this investment, Posavje remains and further consolidates itself as Slovenia's central energy region, and its position will continue to be strengthened with future investments." The Prime Minister also thanked the local community and the wider environment for allowing these projects and investments to be taken as they are and without prejudice. He expressed his wish for the Brestanica Power Plant to operate in an ecologically clean and economic way, and his hope it was prepared for crisis situations that can occur unexpectedly at any moment.