Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob said at the opening ceremony for electricity interconnection between Slovenia and Hungary held on 2 December, which was also attended by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, that the construction of the Cirkovce-Pince transmission line could not have been completed at a better time, as Europe is preparing for the much-awaited green transition, while at the same time such investments provide much needed energy stability.
PM Golob stressed that the Cirkovce-Pince transmission line project is the best example of the kind of investment that Europe needs at this moment. In his view, accelerated investment in electricity and gas infrastructure is exactly what will enable Europe to become energy independent (especially of energy supplied from the East) and to switch to renewables. This is an extremely large investment, both in terms of importance and scale, he explained, adding that its successful completion is also proof that Slovenian experts are capable of carrying out such large-scale projects.
As the investment was co-financed with EU funds, the Prime Minister highlighted its European dimension. EU’s strength lies in the spirit of solidarity between member states, and it is solidarity that should continue to guide joint actions in the future. He added that, following the established electricity connection between Slovenia and Hungary, a gas interconnection could be outlined and completed in the following years.
The project for the construction of the Cirkovce– Pince 2×400 kV transmission line and the new Cirkovce 400/110 kV substation is the largest investment in the transmission network infrastructure in Slovenia and will ensure a more stable and reliable operation of the Slovenian electricity system. In building this connection, Slovenia has made an important contribution to further increasing electricity market integration into the common EU internal market for electricity, laying the foundations for future regional exchange. The investment, realized in the territories of Slovenia and Croatia, is worth approximately 160 million euros, 48 million of which was contributed by the European Union under the Connecting Europe Facility. The transmission line and substation project was also included in the list of projects of common interest. These are energy infrastructure projects for which the European Commission has outlined a long- term vision and guidelines for a trans-European energy infrastructure.
With this 80.5 kilometers long transmission line, the Slovenian transmission network operated by the electricity transmission system operator ELES has increased to more than 3,000 kilometers in length. The Cirkovce–Pince 2×400 kV transmission line has been integrated into the existing line between Hungary and Croatia, operating as a two-system line: one system connected to the Heviz substation in Hungary and one to the Zerjavinec substation in Croatia. The construction of the transmission line lasted 23 months, from 1 August 2020 to 30 June 2022, when the physical connection between the Hungarian and Slovenian electricity systems was first established. Slovenia has therefore connected its transmission network with the last previously unconnected country – Hungary.
In April 2019, ELES also began work on the new Cirkovce 400/110 kV substation, which was completed on 18 August 2022 and currently connects a total of 15 transmission lines. These lines supply power throughout Slovenia and to Croatia and Hungary. According to ELES Director Aleksander Mervar, the two energy facilities – the transmission line and the substation – are extremely technically advanced, built according to the latest European overhead line standards, and environmentally friendly in terms of both noise and other environmental impact factors.