Potential of Hydropower Tourism in Lika

By 25 August 2021
Potential of Hydropower Tourism in Lika
Romulic & Stojcic

August 25, 2021 - Is hydropower tourism in Lika the next big thing for the region? A closer look. 

In my article about the Lika region, I mentioned that a large hydropower plant is under construction in Kosinj. Total Croatia News has also reported about the project. As a matter of fact, the existing Senj Hydropower System (HES) will be upgraded. The project includes the construction of two new hydropower plants, one in Kosinj and one in Senj. As of August 2021, the estimated worth of the project is 3.4 billion KN. At the end of July 2021, the government declared the Kosinj Hydropower System (HES Kosinj) a strategic investment project.

Visualization of the hydropower plant in Kosinj

Author: Croatian National Power Company (Hrvatska Elektroprivreda, HEP)

Kosinj is a village located on the inland side of the Velebit, the mountain range that separates the inland from the Adriatic coast. The landscape is dominated by the fertile plains of the Lika river and the Bakovac stream. Kosinj lies within the Perušić municipality, which is located north of Gospić, the largest town in Lika. The travel distance to Gospić is around 15 minutes. As of 2021, the travel distance from Kosinj to Perušić is around 22 minutes. The existing roads are not in a very good condition. However, a new road will be built from Studenci, north of Perušić, to Sklope via Kosinj. Once completed, it will be much easier to travel through the Kosinj area. For those who are interested and who understand Croatian, there is a local YouTuber who covers all major projects and events in the Lika region. He uploads his material on his YouTube channel, TV Loki.

Currently, there are two hydropower plants within the HES. The first one opened in 1965, and is located outside Senj, on the Adriatic coast. The other one opened in 1970, and is located in Sklope, south of Kosinj. As a part of the project, the river was dammed. A nearby valley was filled with water and turned into an artificial lake, Kruščica (Kruščičko jezero). The Kosinj valley will also be turned into an artificial lake by the way. 

With its crystal clear water and surrounded by forest-clad mountains, the Kruščica lake has the potential to become a popular tourist attraction. 

The Kruščica lake 

Author: Croatian Tourist Board (Hrvatska Turistička Zajednica, HTZ)

In the Croatian media, the upgrade of the HES is described as a ‘megaproject’. Indeed, the project is of utmost importance for this part of Croatia, for many reasons. As of 2021, the HES has a capacity of 238.5 MW and an annual generation of 1.15 TWh. Once upgraded, the capacity will increase to 656 MW and 1.5 TMw per year. There is also the water flow. Before the HES was built in the 1960s, severe floods were a recurring phenomenon in western Lika. In order to regulate the water flow, underground tunnels were built through the Velebit. Also, the Lika river was connected with the Bakovac stream. Thereby, excess water could be led away from the area. With the upgrade of the HES, the regulation of the water flow will become even more efficient. Moreover, the project will benefit the agricultural industry, which is on the rise in the Lika region. 

Hydropower energy is not only a renewable energy source, it’s also cost-effective in comparison with other energy sources. In recent years, green ideas have become mainstream in Europe. The political elites have realized that eco-friendly is the future. Therefore, it’s very positive that the government declared the upgrade of the HES a strategic investment project. For, the upgrade of the HES is a major green investment. In addition to being an infrastructure project, it will also put Croatia on the eco-friendly map. 


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