Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant from energy except transport and households.

Trends in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant from the energy sector, including emissions from transport and households, have been balanced since 1990. More information on emission trends from the energy sector - fossil fuels burning in Slovakia.

Total emissions

Combustion of fuels in the production of electricity and steam has a high share on air pollution. In the past, solid fuels were intensively used for this purpose, especially lower quality brown coal and lignite mined in the Slovak Republic. Thanks to the proactive environmental policy of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic, the use of solid and liquid fossil fuels decreased and the consumption of natural gas and biomass have been increasing in line with the improvement in energy efficiency of companies. The emissions and GDP decoupling happened in Slovakia in previous years. Due to decreasing of emissions and increasing of GDP, the curve of increasing production does not follow the curve of increasing emissions.

Emissions from energy are estimated and reported in both inventories - greenhouse gases and air pollutants. In the energy sector, sources of emissions from the production of electricity and steam (power plants and central sources of heat supply), oil refining and the production of solid fuels (coke) are balanced.

Within the methodology, emissions are estimated by two approaches - reference and sectoral. The methodology of the energy balance by the reference approach is also called the top-down approach and is based on simple balance calculations, which are based on energy statistics. Energy statistics prepare and publish the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, annually. The balance sheet takes into account the extraction, production, imports, exports and stocks of the commodity. The sectoral approach, on the other hand, is referred to as the bottom-up approach and is based on data directly from the plants themselves with a more detailed breakdown.

Energy is the largest contributor to the total greenhouse gas emissions of the Slovak Republic. In 2020, the share of the energy sector was 66%, in absolute terms 24,609 Gg CO2 eq. The energy sector produces more than 76% of total carbon dioxide emissions in Slovakia. This is mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels.

Until 2015, SOx emissions were mainly emitted from the category production of electricity and steam, currently the main contributors are the iron and steel production and aluminum production categories (more than 32% in 2020). The category Iron and steel production shows an overall downward trend, but emissions from aluminum production have increasing trend since 1990. This trend is associated with an increase in the production of this metal.

Until 2005, the main source of lead (Pb) emissions was the incineration of municipal solid waste (MSW) with energy recovery in the category electricity and steam generation. The modernization of both MSW incinerators has led to a significant reduction in emissions. The decrease in Pb emissions from road transport visible since 2000 was due to a ban on the addition of lead to motor fuels. Since 2006, the main source of lead emissions are combustion activities in the production of steel and iron.

Cadmium (Cd) emissions in the energy sector have decreased only slightly since 1990. Like Pb emissions, MSW incinerators contributed significantly to Cd emissions until 2005. Since then, combustion activities in iron and steel production and residential heating have become significant sources of Cd emissions.

The amount of PCDD / F emissions emitted into the air in the Slovak Republic is most affected by MSW incinerators. Since the reconstruction, both combustion plants have significantly reduced emissions of this pollutant. Household heating is the main contributor to HCB emissions throughout the time series. In 2020, almost 68% of total HCB emissions were emitted by this category.

PAH and HCB emissions are mostly emitted from household heating. The emission trend of these pollutants in the energy sector has been declining slightly since 2005.

We consider a significant reduction in sulphur emissions - SOx since 1990 to be one of the greatest successes of environmental measures.


Trends in emissions by individual types of fuels

Trends in emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants from the energy sector by individual types of fuels have been balanced since 1990. More information on emissions trends from the energy sector - combustion by types of fossil fuels in Slovakia.


Emissions by fuels

Structural changes and the implementation of economic instruments, such as emissions trading, have played an important role in reducing emissions from electricity and heat production in Slovakia. An important factor has been the significant change in the fuel base of energy and industrial companies in recent years. At the beginning of the 1990s, Slovakia was, in terms of energy and emissions, an intensive country with an advanced heavy industry, dependent on imports of fossil fuels such as anthracite, hard coal, coke, brown coal, oil and natural gas. The structure of the industry included heavy engineering, metallurgy, the chemical industry, the production of non-ferrous metals, and a refinery. These industries consumed a significant amount of solid and liquid fuels and produced greenhouse gas emissions of up to 56,000 Gg CO2 eq. As a result of economic transformation and the modernization of industrial enterprises, many uneconomic and non-ecological operations have disappeared and those that have remained have undergone a significant change in the fuel base and technology. This also reflects the decline in solid and liquid fuels since 1990 and the increase in the consumption of natural gas, renewables and waste fuels (such as heat from waste incineration). The overall decrease in the combustion of non-ecological fuels caused a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions to the level of about 24 thousand Gg of CO2 eq. in 2020, a decrease of more than 56%.