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Sustainable Energy Successees

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Renewable Energy



Hydro-power is a somewhat controversial issue, because large hydro-power schemes have a negative impact on fish and other wildlife in and along the affected rivers, as well as residents nearby whose property might be submerged or whose livelihood might depend on the affected wildlife. It is difficult to prevent such construction projects from damaging the local environment.

Small Hydro-Power Plants in Slovakia
Small hydro-power plants are gentle to their surroundings, and the potential of their combined capacity could cover nearly half the household electricity consumption in Slovakia. Facilities with an output of less than 10 MW could be very cost-effective in Slovakia, and the unused potential is nearly 350 MW, or 1.2 TWh/year.

Small hydro-power plants are not new phenomena in Slovakia, but most old plants were abandoned for the socialist approach to power production, which called for large centralised power plants burning fossil fuels.

Today, relatively big investment costs, combined with high interest rates in Slovakia, lead to a payback time of 10 -15 years. This financial burden is too high for most potential investors. For the Slovakian utility company Slovenska Elektrarne a.s, investments in small-hydro-power-plants are not attractive because of the relatively small output and the potential problems with handling many small-scale facilities. However, the lifetime of a small hydro-power plant is more than 70 years, and experts estimate that it could be as long as 100 years! This far exceeds the service life of any other type of power installation. A small 74-year-old hydro-power plant in Jasenie (next page) exemplifies this longevity.