With Slovakia set to completely phase out coal mining and burning in the Upper Nitra region by year’s end and the EU supporting employment, entrepreneurship and the development of green resources in the area with €226 million, Slovakia is set to reduce electricity costs by over €388 million.
Phase-out in the region already began under the former government of Petr Pellegrini in 2018, though the last remaining plant is set to be shut down before the end of the year.
Environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Slovakia praised the gradual phaseout.
“The region’s energy transformation brings cleaner air and new opportunities for business to residents. Slovakia should thus reduce electricity costs by more than €388 million and save 3-5 % of greenhouse gas emissions,” the organisation said.
Previously, Slovakia spent around €100 million per year on subsidising electricity production from domestic coal.
Closing the mines has even been ranked as the most beneficial climate measure, contributing to health, social and economic savings of up to €605 million, according to a study on the decarbonisation of Slovakia’s economy organised by government analysts.
According to an analysis by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), ending the plant’s production and operation in 2025 will reduce CO2 emissions by 6.32% in 2025 and by 7.67% in 2030.
The Upper Nitra region can now benefit from several EU funds for its transformation. Analogous mining regions in the EU can apply, for example, for support from the Just Transition Fund (JTF).
The total allocation from this fund for Slovakia is €440 million, of which €226 million is earmarked for the Upper Nitra region.
According to Friends of the Earth Slovakia’s regional coordinator Lenka Ilčíková, the plan for the transition of this Slovak coal region to a low-carbon one can be an example for other coal regions in Europe.
Ilčíková points out that a wide range of representatives were involved in drawing up the plan, including local governments, officials at national and European levels, local entrepreneurs, residents and NGOs.