The current energy crisis is one of the most discussed topics today. The rising energy prices, together with the absence of state aid, raise concerns about their impact on economy for the coming years. The search for alternative sources, which would reduce dependence on the external environment is a challenge facing the modern world in general. The joint-stock company Železiarne Podbrezová is no exception. The company is preparing for the largest investment project in the energy sector in recent years.
In the area of so called the new plant of Železiarne Podbrezová a.s. a new rooftop photovoltaic power plant will be built with an expected total investment of approximately three million euros. In the first phase, the source of electricity will be installed on the roof of the tube drawing mill, while more than 6,700 pieces of photovoltaic panels will be used. The expected maximum annual production of electricity is estimated to be 3 340 MWh (megawatt per hours). In the next phases, photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roofs of the mechanical workshop and the supply warehouse, which will further increase the annual electricity production.
The project will be implemented by TESLA Blue Planet s.r.o., while preparatory work has already begun and the first phase should be completed by the end of this year.
The photovoltaic power plant is the first step in the modernization of the company energy management and its preparation of other energy projects. Since the legislation of the Slovak Republic will not allow the company use any European funds, the largest employee in Horehroní* is forced to use its own resources for financing this project.
All this despite the fact that the company has contributed to the Slovak Environmental Fund for a long time by purchasing emission permits. But the fund does not carry out its mission and does not perform the tasks assigned to.
The new photovoltaic power plant will be the largest of its type in Slovakia. In addition to reducing dependence on energy, reducing emissions is step towards improving the quality of the environment. Solar energy does not produce emissions, saving up to 440 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, which represents more than 20,000 of planted trees.
(*Horehronie is the Slovakian region located at upper part of the river Hron)
Small hydropower plants
Železiarne Podbrezová has been relying on own small hydroelectric power plants that have produced electricity for decades. Although those hydroelectric power plants do not receive due attention from the state authorities the electricity produced by them contributes to the production process of the company by 10%.
Small hydropower plants produce electricity without negative effects on the environment, while they do not occupy arable land and do not disturb urban or rural agglomerations. On the contrary, their operation forces the streams to be cleaned of silt and waste. Not only because of this, the hydropower plants belong to the most suitable types of electricity production.
Železiarne Podbrezová a.s. operates five hydropower plants with a total installed capacity of more than 5,300 kilowatts, the most powerful being in village Jasenie.
Impact on the environment
The gradual transition to alternative energy sources has a significant impact on the environment. In 2015, world leaders, as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, formulated ambitious goals in the fight against global warming. The agreement was ratified by all member states of the European Union, including Slovakia. In 2019, the European Council approved the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. As part of the initiative, a partial goal was set regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990, by 55%.
Industrial activity contributes by almost 8 % to total emissions. Even though the joint-stock company Železiarne Podbrezová is not the largest producer of CO2 emissions in Slovakia, the company management is aware of the climate change challenge and takes it as its role. Therefore, the company management initiated several large-scale projects that contributed to the reduction of the carbon footprint and the improvement of the environment already in the 90s of the last century. The construction of a new electric arc furnace in the years 1990-1993 can be considered the most important step that significantly reduced CO2 emissions. Through the implementation of dozens of projects, the emission production was reduced by almost 52% compared to 1990, bringing the company significantly closer to achieving its goal, which is, as mentioned, 55 %.
Even more interesting, however, is the decrease in CO2 emissions per tonne of steel produced, which in 2019 represented 58% compared to 1990.
Železiarne Podbrezová a.s. is strongly devoted to the goal of meeting the targets for reducing CO2 emissions. This bold statement is supported by the fact that the company itself has invested almost 69 million EUR since 1990.
The construction of a new photovoltaic power plant in Podbrezová will further reduce the production of greenhouse gases. At the same time, Železiarne Podbrezová will get closer to its aim to achieve the highest possible level of energy self-sufficiency and thereby reduce concerns regarding the scarcity of fuels and steadily rising prices.
According to the source.