Fossil fuel dependency falling and replaced by rising renewables
Ljubljana, Slovenia - Photo credit, Traveldudes & Free Images - Pixabay
Welcome to the twenty-fourth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
Having examined the role of injecting carbon into concrete is playing in the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere last week, I’m returning to my country-by-country analysis and this week I’m focusing on Slovenia. Slovenia ranks fifth highest under Yale University’s latest Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
Paris Agreement Targets
Slovenia has pledged to cut its GhG emissions by 15% of 1990 levels by 2030. GhG emissions have fallen steadily from 22,000 Gg of CO2 equivalent in 2008 to 17,000 Gg in 2014. The country also puts carbon taxes on the combustion of fossil fuels and incineration since 1996. In fact, the share of environmental taxes as a percentage of the total tax intake in Slovenia was the 4th highest in the EU 2011.
Energy Supply and electricity production
According to Invest Slovenia statistics for 2014, nuclear energy was the primary source of energy supply representing 44% of the overall figure. Solid fuels, renewables, and hydro were the next highest sources of energy supply with 22%, 17% and 14% of the total figure respectively. The renewables portion of this pie has grown by 6% over the last decade with the goal that 25% of energy supply will derive from renewable sources by 2020.
Almost 80% of electricity produced in Slovenia in 2014 was generated at hyro/ renewable plants (33%) or nuclear plants (45%). One fifth of electricity was produced at fossil fuel plants during this time. From an eco-friendly point of view, this is positive news, however, nuclear fuel comes with its own risks.
The National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia is one of eight partners in MefCO2, a carbon capture and utilisation initiative funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
MetCO2 are working to develop green methanol fuel from CO2 emissions extracted at cement plants, blast furnaces, power stations or any other CO2 emitting facility. MetCO2 estimate that they will be able to convert 1.5 tonnes or CO2 into 1,000 kg of methanol per day. The project is in stage one (engineering & permitting) and it is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018.
Slovenia’s CO2 emissions reduction over the last 10 years or so is commendable and their commitment to CCUS research is good to see. The EU’s climate leaderboard ranks Slovenia 16th out of 28 countries and cites its reluctance to increase its emissions target above a 15% domestic target by 2030 as a reason for this. All is not lost though, the Slovenian Parliament recommends that their proposal is strengthened. It will be interesting to see how Slovenia responds to this and whether or not existing targets will be stretched further. What is clear though is Slovenia’s overall sustainability performance is strong as evidenced by EPI ranking.
Next week’s blog will profile Spain and their efforts to meet their CO2 emissions reduction targets.