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Territorial Example of Best Practice: the Municipality of Velenje, Slovenia

The National Context: Slovenia contributes to dealing with Climate
Change at both National and International Levels

By establishing the Government Office of Climate Change of
the Republic of Slovenia in 2009, Slovenia has demonstrated an ambitious political stance

The Climate Plan in Velenje (Šalek Valley)
The Local Context

The City of Velenje is the fifth biggest Slovenian city and the centre of
the Municipality of Velenje (MOV). Established in 1959, the City of Velenje has
made tremendous efforts to re-restore a landscape ruined by coal
exploitation, and to turn handicap into advantage. Velenje and the Šalek
valley were formerly exposed to huge amounts of pollutants due to their close
vicinity to the largest Slovene thermal power plant of Šoštanj (ŠTPP). High
emissions of SO2 and heavy metals had negative effects on the environment,
evident in forest decline and pollution of Lake Velenje and the river Paka.
Therefore, the MO Velenje supported an environmental rehabilitation
programme and several remedial ecological measures on the ŠTPP were
implemented in 1990s. The Šalek Valley is now an example of good practice in
the restoration of degraded environments.

Presentation of the Municipality Plan in response to Climate Change
(Mitigation and Adaptation)

The City has accumulated a great deal of experience in making steps towards
integrated regional solutions for sustainable development and has used this
experience in implementing user- and environment-friendly policies, such as
promoting sustainable water and waste treatment, optimising public utilities,
carrying out local awareness raising actions, training and transfer of relevant

Sectors concerned within the Climate Action Plan of the Alpine

Mitigation Strategies

  • Energy Industry: The Municipality of Velenje focuses its activities and
    actions towards “energy efficiency” within the energy management of
    the city of Velenje. Crucial steps include:
    2004: Energy concept of MO Velenje;
    2006: Establishing of Regional Energy Agency - “KSSENA”;
    2007 – 2011:
    Operational plan for energy efficient reconstruction of Public
    Street Lightening in MO Velenje;
    Energy audits, analyses, energy bookkeeping, energy
    reports (consumption and costs);
    Actions planned for RES (renewable energy sources) and
    RUE (rational use of energy);
    Participation of MOV & KSSENA in various EU programmes /
    projects for implementation of RES and RUE concepts;
    Photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Velenje: roof of Municipality of
    Velenje (installed Power: 17.4 kWp) and also
    on 2 primary schools in Velenje (Installed Power: 49.68 kWp);
    District cooling system in Velenje (2008): the very first one
    in Slovenia (installed power of cooling is 970 kW).
  • Transport: Velenje has a free public transport system which has a
    direct impact on reducing the environmental burden through the
    exhaust and noise. It is assumed that this will result in a potential
    saving of CO2 emissions of at least 169 tons of CO2 per month, that is
    an annual level saving of 2034 tons of CO2 emissions.
  • Waste: The project “My clean Velenje" has been running since 2002.
    Within the project the Municipality of Velenje offers summer jobs for
    students to increase the concern for clean environment, encourage the
    development of intergenerational ties, raise awareness of the
    importance of a healthy and clean living environment, and encourage a
    positive attitude towards urban facilities. 210 waste collection points
    (“ecological islands”) have been installed on the territory of municipality
    of Velenje for the separate collection of waste and the residents of
    Velenje can bring waste (also bulky waste) free of charge to a waste
    collection centre (location of closed waste landfill site in Velenje).

Adaptation Strategies

  • Air: An Ecological information system (EIS) for air quality monitoring
    has been set up in cooperation with TES (Termo-Elektrana Šoštanj=
    Power Plant Šoštanj,) with data available daily on
  • Spatial Planning and Mountain Forests: Because of long-term
    coalmining activities a central part of the valley is constantly sinking.
    State laws and municipal regulations regarding coalmines require that
    all damaged areas are regularly rehabilitated and re-cultivated. Illegal
    dumps, “landfills”, are mostly rehabilitated. Every year, funds are set
    aside in the municipal and state budget to manage the expected
    landslides and subsidence in the valley.
  • Preservation of biodiversity: In terms of biodiversity, the creation of
    lakes in the valley is definitely positive. The wealth of biodiversity is
    evident by the more than 200 registered species of birds, of which about
    80 species also nest in this area. It is also extremely rich in species of
    butterflies. Within the area of Šalek Valley, 82% of known Slovenian
    mammals (excluding species of bats) have been observed, along with
    61% of indigenous birds, 43% of reptiles and 58% of amphibians.
    Forests cover over 50% of the surface of Velenje. Forests on the edge of t
    own are protected by the Ordinance of 1985, which should be updated
    so the forest performs ecological and a social function.
  • Tourism: The conservation of nature and development of the concept
    of sustainable tourism has been enshrined in the Local Agenda 21.
  • Water and Water Resources: On 9 February 2011 the European
    Commission adopted a decision to co-finance the above mentioned
    operation with 23.935.667 EUR. The Modernized Water supply system in
    Šalek Valley (Velenje) will contribute to the:
    Improvement of the protection of human health of more than
    45.000 people;
    Assurance of constant protection of water sources;
    Reduction of water losses in the region (from over 30% to less
    than 25% by 2015);
    Access to potable water for distant places for 1730 new
    Achievement of better conditions for further economic and social
    Cost- effective supply of drinking water;
    Development opportunity of local lakes for the Šalek Valley: The
    appearance of the surroundings of lakes in the valley had changed
    very little over the last decade. With an organised approach and
    capital inputs a new period of the development of lakes and their
    recreational tourism opportunities has begun in the Šalek Valley.
  • Future and evolution
    In 2011, Velenje will renew its Local Energy Concept and implement new
    measures, including, for example “green” public street lighting. On waste
    management, the objective is to reduce the total amount of waste and to
    establish a “Re-Use Centre” in Velenje (2012) with the aim of keeping
    reusable materials out of landfills and establishing social enterprises with
    green jobs.
    You can find a full version of the presentation of Velenje efforts regarding
    climate change issues here (EN).