Slovenia as part of the EU’s efforts to decarbonise the defence sector
The European Defence Agency and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia are organising a two-day thematic workshop of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector at Grand Hotel Union in Ljubljana. The participants were welcomed by State Secretary for Defence, Dr Damir Črnčec.
The first thematic workshop of this kind, aims to explore the opportunities for decarbonising the defence sector through the use of clean hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the parts of the defence sector relating to transport and infrastructure. The participants will also discuss European Union (EU) strategies and policies in this field.
In the opening session of the conference, which is attended by some 80 representatives of European defence ministries, EU institutions, industry and scientific organisations, the State Secretary for Defence, Dr Damir Črnčec, stressed that, given the progressive volatility of the security and energy system, it is essential for the defence sector to improve its protection against climate change, use flexible and clean sustainable models, while ensuring own operational effectiveness. The improvement of the defence sector’s energy efficiency also results in its increased operational effectiveness, and savings in the human and financial resources, which can be reallocated to other areas. In this context, State Secretary Dr Črnčec underlined the importance of the roles of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector and the European Defence Agency.
Catharina Sikow-Magny, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Energy at the European Commission, presented the European Commission's strategy and actions for the development and deployment of renewable energy and low-carbon hydrogen in the energy system. Her presentation was a prelude to a debate on the role of the defence sector in the EU's efforts to achieve climate neutrality and improved security of supply by increasing the share of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.
Slovenia is actively involved in the EU's efforts in the field of defence energy and energy efficiency, and is pursuing projects in sustainable mobility and the search for alternative fuels. To illustrate, the Slovenian Armed Forces introduced hydrogen technology into operational use as early as in 2010, and, according to Dr Črnčec, our experience with hydrogen has led to a proposal of the Defence RESilience Hub Network in Europe (RESHUB). It is an ambitious project for the use of renewable energy sources and energy storage in hydrogen, which has been funded by the European Commission. In this respect, we are also working closely with the European Defence Agency.
Dr Črnčec explained that, in parallel with the feasibility study, which will be presented this afternoon, a pilot project had been launched at Kranj barracks. Its aim is to provide the infrastructural capabilities for the introduction of hydrogen mobility in the defence and security sectors in 2024, while supporting similar developments in the civilian sector. In addition, we have been participating with our experiences in the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project.
In two workshop sessions, on infrastructure and transport, experts will discuss in more detail the benefits and challenges of introducing hydrogen in the defence sector. The workshop is also an opportunity to exchange knowledge and project ideas between representatives of the Ministries of Defence, businesses and researchers.