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A new Mining Act recently came into force, setting forth renewed conditions for the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources, the termination of their exploitation and health and safety in mining-related works. The new act lays down more transparent arrangements for the granting of concessions, provides a clearer definition of 'mineral resources' and removes unnecessary administrative barriers.

The new Corporate Governance of State Capital Investments Act was adopted in response to requirements set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to ensure the transparent, efficient and economic management of Slovenian state property. The act transfers the management of state capital investment to an autonomous agency. Almost one-third of this investment relates to the energy sector.

Almost two years after the last amendment to the Energy Act, a new amendment has come into force. The amendment seeks to rectify several previously inefficient practices associated with the construction and maintenance of energy infrastructure. Other changes relate to the performance of public services in the sector and the removal of administrative barriers.

Recent media coverage of the Slovenian energy sector has been dominated by news of the planned construction of the new 600 megawatt Unit 6 at the Sostanj thermal power plant. Public debate has focused on the necessity of its construction, financing issues and future environmental problems.

The Slovenian and Russian governments recently signed the Agreement on Cooperation in Construction and Operation of the Gas Pipeline on the Territory of the Republic of Slovenia. Among other things, the agreement will aid developments in the energy field and ensure a stable supply of natural gas from Russia to Slovenia and other European countries.

At present, the Resolution on the National Energy Programme adopted by the Slovenian National Assembly does not expressly regard the construction of new nuclear power plants as an acceptable solution to carbon-free power. However, the government believes that nuclear energy is an essential tool for ensuring a stable long-term energy supply.

The Regulation on Support for Electricity Generated from High-Efficiency Cogeneration and the Regulation on Support for Electricity Generated from Renewable Energy Sources were recently adopted and have partially entered into force. Support for electricity generated from renewable energy sources and high-efficiency cogeneration is provided in cases where production costs exceed the electricity market price.

The latest amendment to the Energy Act recently came into force and contains a new chapter regulating the production of electricity from renewable energy sources and high-efficiency cogeneration. The chapter includes provisions on the adoption of national frame goals, the issuance of guarantees of origin of electricity and the granting of support to electricity production plants.