Slovakia may seem to have been a late starter in developing renewable and green energies, but its economic players are catching up, using research as an instrument to promote cutting-edge technologies. Slovakia and the Czech Republic were two parts of a common federal state until 1993.
Comparisons between the two countries are thus telling regarding trends in developing renewable and green technologies.
EU structural funds have helped, but the renewable energy sector cannot rely solely on these sources," he said.
"The agency of the Ministry of Education issues calls for proposals that are predominantly oriented towards new infrastructure, not the research itself.
Research as a driving force With EU backing, Ludovit Jelemensky and Frantisek Janicek, both from the Slovak Technical University, opened the National Centre for Research and Application of Renewable Energy Sources in June 2009.
It is the first centre of excellence in Slovakia which focuses on renewable and new sources of energy at top academic level in cooperation with private companies.
The main obstacle to the exploitation of geothermal power is the exponential growth of drilling costs when the wells are deeper than 5-6 kilometres.
The Slovak Ministry of Education secured around 2.7 million euros from the EU's structural funds to support ULTRADRILL technology, the robotic platform of Slovak-based Geothermal Anywhere.
One is a new robotic platform for ultra-deep drilling – primarily geothermal, but also for hydrocarbon prospects.Public interest in solar collectors As a part of an economic recovery package, the Slovak government agreed last year to promote the installation of renewable energy sources.For this it allocated an additional budget of 100 million Slovak korunas, or 3.3 million euros, to support biomass boiler and solar collector installations, which have been the main targets of plans for renewable energy since 2007. The partial budget for public funding in 2010 is eight million euros.The government supports the installation of current wind and solar technologies, despite their low-level efficiency, cost and the limited natural potential of Slovakia to exploit these types of renewables," said Igor Kocis, CEO of Geothermal Anywhere."The best solution would be to significantly increase investment for additional research. Companies and institutes rely on generally (not specifically) defined calls for R&D projects, so they have to compete with the other industry segments.
According to analysis by Peter Kolesár from Candole Partners, the Czech Republic has experienced a rapid growth in photovoltaic (PV) installations and wind projects: there are currently 411 MW of PV installations and 180 MW of wind turbines in the country (see EURACTIV 26/02/10).