Research themes and prioritisationTop
Energy research in Slovenia covers nuclear energy; electric power and power systems; thermal power and processes; renewable energies; energy conservation and energy in buildings.
Among these, nuclear energy research dominates.
Research in renewable energies covers small hydropower and micro-hydro turbines; solar energy, including advanced solar cells; wood biomass (in particular forestry management and social aspects of the use of wood for energy); green chemistry and biogas and geothermal energy.
There is considerable research in electric power engineering and power systems operation and management, including the development of smart grids and integration of renewable energy into power systems.
Considering Slovenia’s size and the structure of its economy, the country carries out considerable R&D in nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. These areas are important for both nuclear and renewable energy. There is also research on fuel cells and the hydrogen economy.
Organisation of researchTop
Most energy research is managed by the National Research Agency (ARRS), which operates within the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport. Slovenia has no specific energy research programme. Energy research projects are funded through general or framework programmes, of which the Operational Programme Strengthening of Regional Development Potentials (OP SRDP) is the biggest.
There is also a National Renewable Energy Action Plan, still at draft stage, which includes R&D to be funded through the new National Research and Development Programme (2011–2020). It is envisaged that these activities will be supported by the Ministry of Economy in co-operation with the Ministry of Environmental and Spatial Planning.
Also at the draft stage is the National Energy Programme for 2011–2030. Its development is being managed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning.
Figure 1: Organisation of energy research in Slovenia.
Programmes and budgetsTop
No dedicated programme for energy research exists in Slovenia. Energy research projects are funded through general or framework programmes (e.g. the targeted research programme to promote the competitiveness of Slovenia) or through structural funds. In the latter case, for instance, the first development priority of the Operational Programme for Strengthening Regional Development Potentials (OP SRDP) for 2007–2013 is to encourage the competitive potential of enterprises and promote research excellence.
For this reason it is difficult to isolate budget figures for energy research. The figures for the programmes described here cover not only energy research but R&D in general.
Within OP SRDP, energy-related research carried out from 2009 to 2011 received €40.88 million. Projects focused mainly on renewable energy, energy efficiency and the management of distributed power generation.
Table 1: The main operational programme in Slovenia covering energy research.
Programmes and initiatives
Operativni Program Krepitve Regionalnih Razvojnih Potencialov
The OP SRDP aims primarily to increase the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy through the Lisbon objectives, the promotion of entrepreneurship, and support for innovation and technological development. Activities are funded on the basis of their alignment with national industrial policy and/or regional initiatives and policies to reduce regional disparities. One of the key objectives of the Operational Programme is job creation, including through innovation, business success, the exploitation of natural and cultural resources and the development of tourism.
National govermment departmentsTop
Ministrstvo za Izobraževanje, Znanost, Kulturo in Šport
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport is responsible for pre-school education, basic education, music schools, secondary education, adult education institutions, higher education and sport. It oversees the universities of Maribor and Ljubljana, which carry out energy R&D.
Ministrstvo za Gospodarski Razvoj in Tehnologijo
The vision of the MGRT is to further strengthen the international competitiveness of Slovenian enterprises and rapidly restructure the Slovenian economy to better match the demands of world trade.
Ministrstvo za Visoko Šolstvo, Znanost in Tehnologijo
This ministry is the national authority for rail, air and maritime transport, inland navigation and road transport. It carries out spatial planning and oversees construction, housing, energy, mining, the efficient use of energy, renewable energy sources and broadband communications.
National research programme management agenciesTop
Javna Agencija za Raziskovalno Dejavnost Republike Slovenije
The Slovenian Research Agency, established in 2003, administers the National Research and Development Programme (NRDP) at every level, as well as promoting R&D in other ways. (The last NRDP expired in 2010, and the 2011–2015 programme is in preparation). The Agency makes professional and independent decisions on the programmes and projects to be financed from the state budget and other sources.
Funding organisations at national levelTop
Slovenia has no dedicated funding organisation for energy research. Financial support for energy R&D comes from the ministries listed above as well as from EU sources, while the ARRS plays a key advisory role on which projects merit funding.