First power plants in Slovakia

In late 19th century, the first uses of electricity emerged in the territory of what is today Slovakia. The first power plant was operated since 1884 at S. Ludwig Mill in Bratislava, and the country’s first hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 22 kW came online in 1889 in the city of Krompachy.

Nationalisation of energy utilities

The Vienna Arbitration on the 2nd November 1938 altered the state border and Slovakia lost some of its utility to Hungary. In 1939, the Bratislava-based Central Office for all-purpose utilities was set up, thus paving the way for the merger of all companies into a single enterprise with operations all over the country.

On the 5th June 1942, the all-purpose companies formed the joint-stock company Slovenské elektrárne. The primary power grids consisted largely of 22 kV lines and a 110 kV transmission system had progressively been developed following the founding of the joint-stock company. The state proceeded to construct the hydroelectric power plants in Ilava, Dubnica nad Váhom and the dam on the river Orava.

Following World War II, also the power companies in the Czechoslovak Republic were nationalised under the Presidential Decree. This implied the transfer of ownership rights in both all-purpose utility companies and municipal and privately-owned power plants into the hands of the State. Over the 1950’s, the nationalised Slovak energy sector went through a range of organisational changes and reforms. The common power grid was created and centred around the 220/110 kV Bystričany substation. The construction of the first 400 kV line started in 1958 and full electrification of all Slovak municipalities was completed in 1960.

Transformation and the spin off of distribution assets

In the context of the new Constitutional Act that changed Czechoslovakia into a Federation, a vertically integrated energy utility – Slovenské energetické podniky, trust Bratislava (SEP) – was founded in Slovakia in 1969. The Slovak area dispatch centre was integrated in SEP, with the Prague-based supervisory control within the federation being retained nevertheless.

In 1977, the trust of SEP companies was transformed into a Concern comprising of 3 distribution, 4 generation, 1 construction and 2 special-purpose concern organisations. The concern organisation of the energy industry lasted until the end of June 1988, when the state-controlled company SEP Bratislava was established again in Slovakia. After 1990, the distribution companies ZSE, SSE and VSE spun off the state-run company SEP, becoming independent state-run companies. Today, ZSE (West), SSE (Central), and VSE (East of Slovakia) are 51 % controlled by the State, but the remaining minority shares and the executive rights are in the hands of private investors such as the German E.ON, Czechoslovak energy and industrial holding EPH, or German RWE Group, respectively.

Preparations for the privatisation

The joint-stock company Slovenské elektrárne, a.s., was founded in November 1994 as one of the new entities from the assets, and a successor in title of SEP (Slovenský energetický podnik, š. p.). Under its Resolution No. 758/2000 of the 27th September 2000, the Slovak Government ordered the restructuring of Slovenské elektrárne, a.s. The following three independent businesses emerged after the restructuring: the power generating utility Slovenské elektrárne, a.s., the transmission grid operator Slovenská elektrizačná prenosová sústava, a.s., and the heating company in the east of Slovakia called Tepláreň Košice, a.s.

The joint-stock company Slovenské elektrárne was founded on the 21st January 2002 as a new business that operated nuclear, thermoelectric and hydroelectric power plants and the nuclear waste management and decommissioning facility.

Becoming a part of the Enel Group

In July 2004, Enel submitted a binding offer and on October 7th of the same year the Group was selected as “preferred bidder”. Enel paid 839 million euros for the 66% of Slovenské elektrárne share capital of which 168 million euros (representing 20% of the price) were paid at the signing of the contract on February 17th 2005 whereas the remaining 671 million euros were transferred upon the closing on the 28th April 2006.

The original perimeter of the assets, following the transaction, consisted of two nuclear power plants, namely units 1 and 2 of the Mochovce NPP (2x440 MW) and units 3 and 4 of the Bohunice NPP (2x440 MW), two thermal power plants, namely Vojany TPP (1,320 MW) and Nováky TPP (518 MW), and over thirty hydro power plants with a total capacity of 1,653 MW. The overall installed capacity of the plants involved in the transaction was 5,251 MW. The transaction also included the drafting of a feasibility study for the construction of units 3&4 at the nuclear power plant in Mochovce, a project strongly supported by the Slovakian government in the previous years which had to be abandoned at a certain time because of lack of public financing.

The contract also envisaged that some assets were not part of the acquisition process, namely the A1 nuclear power plant that was shut down in 1976, units 1 and 2 of the Bohunice NPP due to be shut down, the radioactive waste treatment facilities in Mochovce and Bohunice, and the Gabčíkovo hydro power plant (747 MW). All these assets were transferred to other State entities before the closing of the transaction. But Slovenské elektrárne kept the right to operate the Gabčíkovo HPP for thirty years and it shares 65% of this hydro power plant revenues with the Slovak state-owned entity Vodohospodárska výstavba (in December 2014 Vodohospodárska výstavba terminated the contract and on 10 March 2015 it took over the operations and revenues from electricity generated at Gabčíkovo HPP). Slovenské elektrárne also operated the first two Bohunice units (1&2) until they were shut-down in December 2006 and December 2008 respectively.

Business expansion and new investments

During the acquisition process, Enel, the National Property Fund (NPF) and Slovakia’s Ministry of the Economy also agreed on the terms of an investment plan aimed at increasing output and enhancing the efficiency and environmental standards of the plant portfolio.

In nuclear generation, the plan focused on the development of new capacity, mainly through the construction of units 3 & 4 of the Mochovce NPP with a planned CAPEX of 4.6 billion euros. Through an up-to-date technology, in 2008, Slovenské elektrárne managed to increase the output of units 1 and 2 of the Mochovce NPP, with a total installed capacity of the plant reaching 940 MW from previous 880 MW. In the Bohunice NPP, after a five year modernization programme, the progressive power up-rate of its two 440 MW units started in 2008. In October 2010, the installed capacity at Bohunice NPP increased to 1,010 MW.

In renewable energy, Slovenské elektrárne developed combined combustion with biomass fuels in its coal-fired plants. The first biomass co-combustion was inaugurated in the fall of 2009 at one of the 110 MW black coal-fired units in the Vojany TPP. Since October 2011 biomass is co-combusted also at the lignite-fired Nováky TPP.

In 2009, Slovenské elektrárne expanded its business in the end-consumer market by establishing SE Predaj, a 100% subsidiary that operates in the Slovak small and medium enterprise segment, whereas, since 2013, its offer also includes gas deliveries. Due to the broad spectre of energy services which it offers, in 2018 the company changed its name to Slovenské elektrárne – energy services. Slovenské elektrárne has its subsidiary operating also in the Czech Republic and via its organizational branch the company is present also in Poland.

On 18 December 2015, Enel Produzione S.p.A. signed a contract with EP Slovakia BV, a subsidiary of Energetický a průmyslový holding, a.s. (EPH), for the sale of the stake held by Enel Produzione in Slovenské elektrárne, equal to 66% of the latter’s share capital. On 28 July 2016, EPH closed the first phase of buying into Slovenské elektrárne when EP Slovakia became a 50% shareholder in SPH, while the other 50% remained under Enel Group's ownership for the time being.

(If not stated otherwise, the data as of 28 July 2016)