Geothermal Power Plant Opens Near Bjelovar, Largest in Continental Europe

By 19 November 2019

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of November, 2019, the Republic of Croatia's first geothermal power plant, which is also the largest in continental Europe with binary technology, worth 325 million kuna in total, officially opened on Tuesday in the Bjelovar suburb of Ciglena.

The large Turkish group MB Holding has invested 325 million kuna in total in geothermal sources in Velika Ciglena to build a geothermal power plant that can supply as many as 29,000 households and employs ten workers.

The project also includes Croatian companies that have done more than half of all of the work, so the fact that the share of services and equipment procured on the Croatian market amounts to 220 million kuna, or 68 percent, was heard at the opening attended by MB Holding's CEO Muharrem Balat and Minister Tomislav Ćorić.

"Velika (Big) 1, the name we chose for this geothermal power plant, was not selected for no reason. We have five geothermal power plants in Turkey, and we hope to build an equal number, if not more, here in Croatia,'' said the CEO of MB Holding.

He added that geothermal energy, unlike solar and wind, can be used 24 hours a day for 365 days a year.

"Such projects can only be realised with a lot of enthusiasm and years of investment. More than 300 million kuna has been invested here so far, which is a testament to how skilled this team is and how much they believed in this project. Every new kilowatt of energy from renewable sources is of interest to all of us and you'll have the full support of the Government of the Republic of Croatia in this. The energy strategy until 2030 is fully focused on renewable energy,'' Minister Ćorić stated, expressing his hope that MB Holding will build at least six geothermal power plants here in Croatia.

Project manager Dragutin Domitrović explained that geothermal water is drawn from a depth of about 2,800 metres and comes to the surface at a temperature of 166 degrees celsius.

After Bjelovar, MB Holding plans to continue investing in Croatia in Legrad, a municipality in Northern Croatia, where the plan is to construct a 19.9 MW geothermal power plant.

Otherwise, the investment in the geothermal site in Ciglena near Bjelovar started back in 2006 and gained momentum after the entry of the aforementioned Turkish group - MB Holding. The company has geothermal power plants with a capacity of 70 megawatts over in Turkey, and the power plant in Ciglena is the first the company has invested in outside of its home country.

A key event followed many years after 2006, more precisely in mid-2015, following the production-impact tests of VC-1A and VC-1 wells drilled by INA back in the early 1970s. At that time, INA made only hypothetical analyses of the Ciglena pumping station, which were never proven in practice because INA was interested in looking for oil only, and not for water.

Owing to the advancement of technology and the abundance of geothermal sources, power from power plants from the originally forecast 4.71 has almost quadrupled, to the current 16.5 MW of gross power.

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