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Slovenia’s pilot geothermal power plant produces first kWh of electricity

Slovenian green electricity producer Dravske elektrarne Maribor, part of the HSE group, began underground works for the remediation of the unproductive well Pg-8 at the end of 2022 and, last April, it commenced aboveground works, including works on electrical and mechanical installations. The well is approximately 3,000 metres deep and is intended for the exploitation of the geothermal energy potential for the first Slovenian pilot geothermal power plant in Čentiba, Lendava.

According to the initial plans, the initial tests for the pilot geothermal power plant were scheduled for last autumn. However, the company encountered some technical difficulties with the remediation of the well and the first tests were delayed until last April.

According to the first test, the thermal output of the well is not sufficient to provide the necessary flow of ammonia steam for the continuous operation of the 50 kilowatts (kW) pilot power plant. So, continuous operation in the future will be possible with modifications to the turbine part of the equipment. Thus, future steps are focused on finding solutions that will enable more consistent turbine operation under given conditions, guided by the initial results of the pilot innovative project.

“Despite some challenges we are facing in the pilot project of the geothermal power plant, I am proud that Dravske elektrarne Maribor, together with partners, are pioneering the utilisation of deep geothermal energy and that we have brought the project to a point where the first kilowatt hours of electric energy have been produced,” said Damjan Seme, the CEO of Dravske elektrarne Maribor. “I believe that with modifications to the turbine part of the equipment, we will be able to establish a state that will enable continuous operation and production, which will be a good starting point for future similar projects.”

The company emphasised that this is a pilot project and is the first of its kind in Slovenia. There are no examples or previous experiences that could provide answers to certain situations.

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