Visit by Slovenia's Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar, and presentation of the start of construction of HPP Mokrice
On Tuesday 29 May 2018, the company HESS presented the launch of operations on the project to build the last in the chain of hydroelectric power plants on the lower course of the Sava River, HPP Mokrice. The event was also attended by Slovenia's Prime Minister in resignation, Dr Miro Cerar, accompanied by his colleagues.
The guests first went on a guided tour of HPP Brežice, where warranty diagnostics were under way in May. This was followed by a tour of the planned site for future HPP Mokrice, near the Ribnica locality, and later by a presentation of the current situation and planned further activities on the project to build HPP Mokrice. The energy generation part of this multipurpose project was presented by HESS Director, Mr Bogdan Barbič, and the infrastructural part by INFRA Director, Mr Vojko Sotošek, MSc.
The financing structure of the investment in the energy generation part has been confirmed by the investment programme, tender documentation for turbines, generators, construction part and hydromechanical equipment is being prepared, and all required consents have been obtained from the parties involved in the procedure for obtaining an environmental protection approval, which is finally coming to a close after some three years. Design engineering activities are also under way, which will be followed by activities to prepare the infrastructure before starting the construction (water supply, telecommunications and electrical connections for the construction site, archaeological surveys, construction of access paths). Crucial to the start of activities is the inclusion of HPP Mokrice in the plan of development programmes for the 2018–2021 period, implemented in the middle of May by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, which secured the financing for the infrastructural part of the investment. The construction is scheduled to start in April 2019, and the completion and start of trial operation is scheduled for mid-2022.
The finalization of the chain of hydroelectric power plants on the lower course of the Sava is important both in terms of ensuring maximum utilization of the planned capacity of the HPPs there and flexibility of the entire chain as well as in terms of providing flood protection for the nearby localities which are under threat.
The construction of the chain of hydroelectric power plants on the lower course of the Sava is essentially designed as a multipurpose project interconnecting the energy generation and infrastructural parts. Apart from generating electricity from a renewable energy source, water in this case, the project also pursues other goals that bring numerous positive impacts for the local communities and the people living along the Sava and further inland: flood protection, watercourse management, groundwater protection, economic development and sustained competitiveness of Slovenian businesses, positive impacts in terms of infrastructure, farming, irrigation, numerous possibilities for the development of tourism and sports through recreational and cycling paths, learning trails, wildlife lookout spots, grounds for water sports, and more.
During the planning and construction stages of this multipurpose project, a strong focus is also placed on providing nature protection configurations and replacement habitats for endangered species of animals. Aquatic organism passage facilities have been set up, nesting cliffs for birds and reed beds provided, and so were quiet areas with footpaths, man-made islands for plants and animals, and so on.
We at HESS are pleased to see the project to build energy generation facilities on the lower course of the Sava embraced strongly at the local and national levels, which inspires us to continue with our work and to carry on creating possibilities for generating electricity from renewable energy sources also in the future. As highlighted by Slovenia's Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar, during his address, water is the liquid gold of the 21st century. Since the new power plant and the completed entire chain of hydroelectric power plants on the lower course of the Sava bring environmentally friendly, clean energy and reduce the country's reliance on imported energy, it is important for the next government to continue to endorse this kind of projects.