Sostanj power station

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Sostanj power station is a 1,029 MW (945 MW coal-fired, 84 MW gas-fired) power station in Savinjska, Slovenia, owned by Termoelektrarna Sostanj.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station near Velenje in north-east Slovenia.

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The existing power station comprises the following operating and retired generating units, which are referred to as:[1]

  • Block 1 and Block 2, both 25 megawatt generating units, closed in 2010 and 2008 respectively;
  • Block 3, a 75 megawatt unit commissioned in 1960, closed in 2014[2];
  • Block 4, a 275 megawatt unit commissioned in 1972[2], and closed in July 2018[3];
  • Block 5, a 345 megawatt unit commissioned in 1977 and nominally scheduled to run until 2027;
  • Block 6, a 600 megawatt unit commissioned in 2015[2];
  • PT 51, a 42 megawatt gas-fired unit commissioned in 2008 and nominally scheduled to run until 2027; and
  • PT 52, a 42 megawatt gas-fired unit commissioned in 2008 and nominally scheduled to run until 2027.

Sostanj is the largest thermal power plant in Slovenia and produces electricity and heat using fuel from the Velenje lignite coal mine. In 2012 the Sostanj Power Station generated on average one-third of the electricity in Slovenia.[4]

Block 6

A new 600 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station (Unit 6) was proposed to "replace obsolete facilities" at the existing plant.[5] The project would replace the power plant’s existing units 3-4 and possibly 5.[6]

Unit 6 was synchronized in 2014,[7] and planned for operation in April 2015. Block 6 will replace unit 3 after going online. The 275MW unit 4 will be decommissioned in December 2015, while the 345MW unit 5 will stay online until the end of 2027.[2]

Unit 5 and unit 6 of the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant may currently be scheduled for decommissioning in 2030 and 2054 respectively.[8][9]

Cost and Funding for Block 6

Since initial project proposal, costs have risen from EUR 700-900 million to EUR 1.2 billion. Permits will also need to be purchased by Slovenia as part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.[6]

The project received permissions from the Slovenian authorities.[6]

In January 2011, a financing agreement for the project was closed. US$971.25 million in loans was provided by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Helaba, Societe Generale, Bankia, UniCredit, and Kommunalkredit Austria.[10] The project also received a US$667,401,143 loan from the European Investment Bank.[11]

Corruption allegations

In July 2012, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) decided to start an official investigation into the Sostanj plant due to charges of corruption (bribery and money laundering) and conflicts of interests in the granting of the contract to the company Alstom.[6]

In October 2014, Slovenian police charged 10 people associated with the project of defrauding electricity consumers of an estimated €284 million (US$333 million).[12]

In May 2018, leaked details of a Slovenian police investigation into Alstom’s €1.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) 600 MW expansion of the Sostanj plant found that it was €500 million (US$586 million) more expensive than equivalent plants the company built elsewhere (the expansion was originally estimated to cost €700 million, or US$820 million). A Slovenian TV station alleges that documents obtained as part of the investigation indicate Alstom allocated €3 million (US$3.5 million) for kickbacks associated with the project.[12]

In May 2020, after several years of uncertainty over the status of the investigation, Slovene prosecutors filed charges including money laundering against 12 people and two companies. Unofficial information reported by the media suggests that the two companies are Slovenia’s Sol Intercontinental and France’s Alstom Power.[13]


On January 17, 2012, representatives from the Focus Association for Sustainable Development, Environmental Legal Service, and CEE Bankwatch Network filed a complaint regarding the Sostanj Thermal Power Plant in Slovenia. Addressed to Anoush Begoyan of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the complaint emphasized how the power plant threatened to perpetuate CO2 emissions and contribute to dangerous global climate change.[14]

In April 2014, the CEE Bankwatch Network released an article on how the Sostanj power plant will significantly increase EU’s global carbon emissions. They also questioned the economic viability of the project, in conjunction with Slovene ministers and other experts, along with corruption issues in the production of the power plant.[15]

Coal supply

The power station consumes "between 3.5 and 4.2 million tonnes" of lignite a year, approximately 90% of all the coal produced in the country. Coal for the power station is sourced from the nearby Velenje mine.

Carbon emissions

Operating the station will result in emissions of 3.4 mega tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to almost all of Slovenia’s allowable emissions in 2050.[6]

Project Details for Unit 6

  • Sponsor: Termoelektrarna Sostanj (TES)
  • Parent company:
  • Developer: Alstom
  • Location: Sostanj, Savinjska, Slovenia
  • Coordinates: 46.372946, 15.053262 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Capacity: 600 MW
  • Type: Ultra-supercritical (manufactured by Alstom)[16]
  • Start date: 2015
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: US$971.25 million in debt from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Helaba, Societe Generale, Bankia, UniCredit, and Kommunalkredit Austria;[10] US$667,401,143 in debt from the European Investment Bank.[11]

Gas Units

Two gas units have been in operation since 2008. In their 2020 'Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan of the Republic of Slovenia' submitted to the European Commission, Slovenia's government confirmed the closure of coal unit 5 by 2030.[17] There are now plans to replace it with a new gas unit.[18] In 2021 the Ministry of Infrastructure began exploring a complete coal phaseout much earlier, in the 2030s.[9]

HSE claims that the new unit will incorporate "low-carbon" technologies such as a carbon-capture and storage system.[19]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Termoelektrarna Šoštanj D.o.o.[20]
  • Parent company: HOLDING SLOVENSKE ELEKTRARNE d.o.o. (HSE)[20]
  • Location: Šoštanj, the municipality of Šoštanj, Slovenia
  • Coordinates: 46.3723, 15.0534 (exact)[21]
  • Gross generating capacity (operating): 1,029 MW (945 MW coal-fired, 84 MW gas-fired)
    • Unit 5: Coal-fired, 345 MW(start-up in 1977)
    • Unit 6: Coal-fired, 600 MW (start-up in 2015)[2];
    • Unit PT 51: Gas-fired[22] open-cycle gas turbine[23] with CHP[23], 42 MW[24] (start-up in 2008)[24]
    • Unit PT 52: Gas-fired[22] open-cycle gas turbine[23] with CHP[23], 42 MW[24] (start-up in 2008)[24]
  • Gross generating capacity (pre-construction): 60 MW
    • Unit PT 53: Gas-fired with CHP[19], 60 MW[25] (start-up in 2030)[19]
  • Gross generating capacity (retired): 400 MW
    • Unit 1: Coal-fired, 25 MW (retired 2010)
    • Unit 2: Coal-fired, 25 MW (retired 2008)
    • Unit 3: Coal-fired, 75 MW (1960-2014)[2]
    • Unit 4: Coal-fired, 275 MW (1972[2] - 2018[3])

Groups campaigning against the proposed expansion

Articles and resources


  1. Termoelektrarna Sostanj, "TEŠ – an important pillar of Slovene energy", Termoelektrarna Sostanj website, accessed April 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Giant unit will lower Slovenia electricity prices from mid-April – traders," ICIS, 17 February 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Block 4 ceases operating after 46 years", HSE website, July 6, 2018.
  4. Termoelektrarna Sostanj, "Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant", Termoelektrarna Sostanj website, accessed October 2012.
  5. "Coal-Fired Plants Financed by International Public Investment Institutions Since 1994", Appendix to Foreclosing the Future: Coal, Climate and International Public Finance: Investment in coal-fired power plants hinders the fight against global warming, Environmental Defense, April 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Sostanj lignite thermal power plant unit 6, Slovenia," Bankwatch, accessed Oct. 2012.
  7. "Alstom brings Unit 6 of Šoštanj power plant to full load," Alstom, 03/11/2014
  8. “Ex-ante economic and social impact assessment of regions' decarbonisation,” DeCarb Activity 1.1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Slovenia proposes to phaseout coal by 2033, Enerdata, Mar 24, 2021
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Preview of Termoelektrarna Šoštanj Lignite Plant | Transaction | IJGlobal". Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "No excuses for the EIB to finance Sostanj". Bankwatch. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Corruption Investigation Finds Overpayment of €500m for TEŠ6 Power," STA, May 30, 2018
  13. "Slovene prosecutors file charges over coal plant corruption," CEE Bankwatch Network, May 25, 2020
  14. “Complaint regarding the Sostanj Thermal Power Plant project”, Bankwatch et al., January 17, 2012.
  15. “Western Balkans: ‘cheap’ lignite plants built now will cost heavily later”, Bankwatch, April 2014.
  16. "Alstom gets certificate for Slovenia's Sostanj TPP Unit 6," See News July 30, 2015
  17. Ministry of Infrastructure, Feb 27, 2020
  18. Thermal power plant Šoštanj takes active role in Slovenia’s energy transition, Balkan Green Energy News, Mar 25, 2020
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Thermal power plant Šoštanj takes active role in Slovenia's energy transition". Balkan Green Energy News. 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2022-06-06.
  20. 20.0 20.1 TES Homepage
  21. Global Power Plant Database v.1.2.0, ID WRI1022413 World Resources Institute, June 2019
  22. 22.0 22.1 Open Power System Data December 2018
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Clean power boost in Central Europe, Siemens Energy, Nov 2007
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 TES in Slovenia TES, accessed December 2019
  25. Slovenia - Country Commercial Guide, International Trade Association, Jul 22, 2020

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