Borzen’s Sustainable Energy Local Conference 023, on 21st of September, focused on the importance of actively involving citizens in the green energy transition.
They emphasized that it is crucial for the entire society to participate in this process, with citizens becoming active energy consumers.
Mag. Tina Seršen, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Climate, Environment, and Energy, pointed out that Slovenia is still significantly behind the EU target, which envisages a minimum 42% share of renewable energy sources (RES) in final energy consumption by 2030. Therefore, the Ministry is preparing several laws to expedite the construction of RES facilities and promote more efficient energy use. Dr. Tomislav Tkalec and Mag. Erik Potočar briefed us on these innovations and opportunities for local communities, as well as legislative updates (preparation of a new National Energy and Climate Plan in accordance with entirely new European Union directives) in the fields of energy use, buildings, and their impacts on local communities.
A good illustration of best practices was an expert panel discussion featuring the participation of Dr. Vlasta Krmelj, the Mayor of the Municipality of Selnica ob Dravi, and Marko Funkl, the Mayor of the Municipality Hrastnik.
In Selnica ob Dravi municipality, an almost zero-energy kindergarten has been built, constructed entirely according to sustainable building guidelines, using the Slovenian-patented solid iQwood system, without adhesives, chemicals, or metals. This is the first public building of its kind in Slovenia. In the municipality, they are committed to digitization. They have remotely operated smart trash bins and also aspire to have a self-sufficient solar power plant and remote monitoring of drinking water usage, enabling citizens to track their consumption through a shared platform.
The Municipality of Hrastnik introduced us to the Green Hrastnik Community Solar Power Plant, operated by the Energy Cooperative Zeleni Hrastnik. This initiative enables more affordable electricity from renewable sources and involves 25 homeowners as co-owners of the solar installation.
Afterward, mag. Jure Vetršek from IRI UL presented examples of advanced energy projects from municipal practices. The ‘One-Stop-Shop’ concept serves as a crucial hub for citizens, offering support in comprehensive home renovations. It provides independent information, raises awareness, offers technical assistance in planning, and delivers tailored advice. It maintains a list of local experts, handles administrative tasks, facilitates access to affordable financing options, coordinates the renovation process, ensures quality control, and guarantees efficiency.
Borut Žnidarič from Borzen presented investment opportunities and financial incentives. Aleš Jurak from Resalta, an experienced expert in the fields of law, energy, and information technology, introduced us to self-sustaining communities in the City Municipality of Ljubljana and the Municipality of Kanal.
Ensuring the fair inclusion of citizens in the green transition was the topic of the final panel discussion, featuring mag. Ladeja Godina Košir, Director of Circular Change, Dr. Jerneja Jug Jerše, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Slovenia, and Mojca Kert, Director of Borzen. The discussion also revolved around individual impacts on the green transition through green commitments, such as reducing food waste, using sustainable transportation methods, decreasing consumption and recycling, transitioning to clean energy, flying less, and opting for durable clothing.