Friday, 21 May 2021

First Croatian Energetically Self-Sustainable Settlements Being Designed

May the 21st, 2021 - Could Croatian energetically self-sustainable settlements be the thing of the future? It seems that with a huge price tag attached and big plans in the works, they might well be.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, carrying an estimated project value of 25 million euros, with seemingly great ambitions and on a European scale, things are moving in the direction of designing the first Croatian energetically self-sustainable settlements.

The local population of several settlements in Velika Gorica near Zagreb will need to recognise and choose the benefits arising from sustainable energy without air pollution. They are separated from this act by one big step - the development of an investment concept for which the Velika Gorica authorities have received a significant European Union grant.

Their project application - applied within the Horizon 2020 programme of the European City Facility (EUCF) met all of the stringent criteria for the aforementioned cash sum.

The result is a grant worth 60,000 euros for the purpose of developing an investment concept called "The development of energy-positive and climate-neutral settlements." The settlements of Busevec, Rakitovec and Turopolje were chosen as the pilot areas for the development of the investment concept, along with the settlement of Ogulinec in the immediate vicinity and at the same time on the outskirts of the city.

According to the acting mayor of Velika Gorica, Kresimir Ackar, the project aims to examine the possibilities of creating the first Croatian energetically self-sustainable settlements with minimal air pollution.

These partcular pilot settlements were chosen because they are surrounded by forest and agricultural land and have enough potential in terms of local renewable sources to achieve energy independence, and on the other hand, they're on the outskirts of the administrative area of ​​the city itself.

The focus is being especially placed on Busevec, one of the oldest settlements in the area. According to Ackar, locals are always interested in exploring new possibilities aimed at improving the quality of their own lives, which is what this project aims for, so the feasibility study will determine what the possibilities for developing energy and climate independent settlements actually are.

The need for the energetic renovation of households will be taken into account, the potential of the surrounding forest and agricultural lands will be examined, it will be determined whether it is more profitable to build a smaller heating plant that would supply all settlements in the pilot area, or if it is instead more profitable to heat all of the settlements. and ultimately, they'll decide on which of these solutions will pollute the air less.

The entire investment concept is expected to be completed by the end of the year. What the local population gets will be seen based on what people are the most interested in, and there will also be options on offer such as solar collectors or heat pumps, photovoltaic power plants to produce electricity, and so on.

The new development perspective shows that the local population has the most prominent position because they will choose between several offered solutions based on RES, and the project itself will be implemented in three different phases. Using the benefits of digital technology, the situation on the ground will be analysed first, and at this stage, the first talks with the local population will be initiated, in order to immediately get them more involved in the project.

According to the last census from 2011, there were 886 inhabitants in Busevec, 570 inhabitants in Rakitovac, 292 inhabitants in Ogulinac, 953 inhabitants in Turopolje and 57 inhabitants in Lazi Turopolje.

A public procurement procedure has been carried out and a contract for the preparation of a Techno-economic analysis of possible solutions within the EUCF grant is an important link before launching the development of an investment concept that will answer the question of the possibilities for transition to new renewable energy sources.

According to Ackar, the new project also confirms at the European level that they're moving in the same direction that Europe has determined by adopting the European Green Plan.

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Friday, 5 March 2021

President Zoran Milanović: Energy Efficiency Can Help Adjust to Climate Change

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - Economic losses in the EU due to climate change extremes amount to €12 billion annually and energy efficiency can help adjust to climate change and create jobs, not lose them, President Zoran Milanović said on Friday after meeting with representatives of Croatia's regional energy agencies.

The meeting was held at the Bračak Energy Centre in Zabok on the occasion of World Energy Efficiency Day, observed on 5 March to raise awareness of the need to reduce energy consumption and sustainable energy use, the president's office said in a press release.

In the past 13 years, together with counties, towns and municipalities, Croatia's regional energy agencies have been implementing sustainable energy use projects. Investment in clean energy exceeds HRK 1 billion.

They successfully participate in many EU projects for the energy-efficient renovation of public infrastructure, developing new business models and financial instruments, which makes them Croatia's energy transition pioneers, it was said at the meeting.

President Milanović said there was no successful adjustment to climate change without energy efficiency and that the climate crisis was potentially the biggest global crisis of the future.

"The experience in achieving renewable and efficient energy and climate protection in Croatia, which regional energy agencies already have, is a good example to all in Croatia at local as well as national level that we can and must do even better when it comes to energy efficiency. Our children must go to better schools, the buildings we live in should be both safe and energy-efficient, our cities deserve to become smart in terms of energy," he said after the meeting.

"The economic losses in the EU due to weather and climate extremes already amount to €12 billion annually. Energy efficiency is what can help us to adjust to climate change, not to lose jobs but create them, raising the standard of living of us all," he added.

Croatia has five regional energy agencies which employ 70 experts while the EU has 350, some of which have been active more than 40 years.

There are four million green jobs in the EU today, including 1.4 million in the production of energy from renewables and over 900,000 in energy efficiency activities, said Julije Domac, the president's energy and climate advisor.

"That's what we should focus on. Croatia has the know-how, as evidenced by the fact that Croatian energy agencies regularly coordinate European development projects, provide services to the European Commission and are active across the European Union. Today it's important that each of us know that energy efficiency means better for them, for Croatia, and then for Earth," he added.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Croatian Company Based in Vukovar Experiences Continued Success

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, over the past five years, ENNA has become a regionally recognisable Croatian company, strongly positioned in the field of energy, logistics, distribution and infrastructure, making a name for itself as a very serious, integrated logistic operator unique in the region.

While news about the emigration from Croatia and especially from Slavonia continues to depress the masses everyday, for the Vukovar-based Energia naturalis group (ENNA) in 2018, positive news about new investments and good business results came about. Engaged in the energy sector, the company decided to take advantage of the plethora of benefits of the common European energy market which opened up to Croatia after joining the European Union. They spent years learning about other markets and were intensively preparing, and the results of trade on the aforementioned common European market came in 2017, and eventually reflected in some excellent business results.

The headquarters of ENNA lies in the Eastern Croatian city of Vukovar, and it continues to successfully operate through companies located in Hungary, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Their success is based primarily on a wealth of knowledge, this young and ambitious team are oriented towards the digitalisation of the processes that take place within the company. In a way, ENNA represents a new generation on the Croatian business scene, recognising opportunities in a liberalised and growing integrated common European market. Thanks to this, this Croatian company achieved an incredibly impressive 1.2 billion euro in consolidated revenues last year.

Over the past two years, ENNA has invested more than 78 million euro into its business, strategically deciding on investments which make the most out of the synergistic potential within their own company portfolio. This year, they have continued to invest in rail freight and in the Port of Ploče, ESCO, various renewable energy sources, and energy trading, in which they remain the most successful. The ENNA ESCO company is currently completing the energetic reconstruction of a general hospital in Varaždin, and the energetic renewal of the police academy building in Zagreb is still ongoing. At the same time, in the Vukovar economic zone, the cogeneration plant for the production of electricity for biomass - ENNA biomass Vukovar and the new PPD business building, are now being completed.

The confirmation of their serious position is certainly proven by the collaboration with globally successful foreign partners. This Vukovar-based Croatian company has cooperated with VTTI, one of the largest operators and owners of oil storage terminals in the world, with Gazprom in the natural gas trade, and with INA, they're developing a strategic partnership in the Petrokemija recapitalisation project.

The ENNA Group is in an intense digitalization process, with particular attention being paid to the education of its employees, through its own education and training system.

The real core of Energia naturalis is a PPD group that deals with the import, sale, supply and continued distribution of natural gas, and that story is one of seventeen long years of unwavering persistence.

As stated, that story started about seventeen years ago, PPD has been operating since 2001 and its beginnings are related to obtaining gas concessions in the town of Vukovar and nine municipalities in the wider area of Vukovar-Srijem County. The result is them becoming the 100 percent owner(s) of this high quality distribution network in a country that is entirely built on private investment.

Their capital was already over 100 million kuna, while their annual income was 50 million kuna. Over the last ten years, the company has managed to gain more than 13,000 permanent customers. The opening of the gas market, marked up as one of the conditions for Croatia's accession to the European Union, finally occurred in 2012, with Croatia joining the bloc the following year. PPD welcomed the move, armed with the knowledge and experience of the neighbouring Hungarian market which they had been constantly visiting and studying for years before.

Since then, their revenue has increased significantly, and their interest has increased alongside that revenue growth. In the ENNA group, which is the owner of PPD and twenty other companies, 300 people are employed, and that is a figure which continues to rise.

Special engagement in the Vukovar region is considered a socially responsible business, in which ENNA and PPD participate through the continuous training of their employees and the New tomorrow (Novo sutra) foundation, which invests in socially useful projects in Slavonia and in scholarships for Slavonian students.

In addition to investing back into their own business and employees, they also invest in sport - and are the proud sponsors of successful clubs such as RK PPD Zagreb and the ENNA Vukovar women's volleyball club. Thus, in addition to achieving excellent results, this Croatian company can also boast of investing in children and young people through some of the things that mean the most to them.

Make sure to follow our business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Croatian companies, Croatian products, and doing business in Croatia.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Fire Safe Europe: ''Croatia Has Excellent Chance to Improve Standards''

Can Croatia improve its standards by putting in proper preventative fire protection measures in its buildings, alongside the obtaining of energy efficiency certificates? Fire Safe Europe thinks so.

The director of Fire Safe Europe warns that fire protection should be thought of preventively, not just after something has already started burning.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of November, 2018, Juliette Albiac is the ''face'' of Fire Safe Europe, a lobby association of building material manufacturers, firefighters and firefighting experts, with the aim of increasing security standards when it comes to fire protection in buildings. After the utterly catastrophic fire that took place in the Grenfell skyscraper in London, which took 72 lives in 2017 because of the inadequate materials used in construction, the tragic theme has finally come to the forefront.

Since the Republic of Croatia also needs to incorporate fire protection regulation into its national legislation by the end of 2020, Fire Safe Europe points out that it is now an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of its importance in the energy renewal of buildings and the availability of European Union funds.

How much Europe is aware of the issues of fire protection?

The fire at the Grenfell Tower in London has inspired many countries in the rest of Europe to review their security procedures and documents, although some Eastern European countries have, already gone ahead and done that. We thought Britain was one of the leaders in standards of fire protection, so this tragedy came as a surprise to us. We knew there were problematic issues because the European regulations were not aligned, and the current testing models can't predict how facades will behave during a fire, but we'd never have said something like that would happen. It was a wake up call.

Was Grenfell a turning point?

First of all, it should be borne in mind that the regulations relating to fire protection are done at the jurisdiction of each member [state of the EU], just as they are with traffic safety. After Grenfell, several countries revised their regulations, but not all of them. A new law has come into force in France, while talks about properly defining tall buildings or skyscrapers are going on in Belgium, as evacuations in the event of fires are getting worse and longer.

Unlike airborne (aircraft) accidents that are spoken about in the media, about which much can be learned by analysing, this isn't the case with fires that take place in buildings. In Europe, about 4,000 people are killed per year, and about 200,000 people are injured. That's why the European Commission established the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) last year to allow member states to share the best experiences and their data.

What about Croatia?

Unlike Europe, which has had to learn from tragedy, Croatia has luckily learned another way, for example, after we conducted a scientific fire facade study in partnership with the University of Zagreb, the results have influenced a change of regulations to strengthen fire protection. We've compared the three types of façades with different materials that behave differently in a fire. It's been shown that due to the high proportion of flammable materials inside the building, the fire spreads quickly inside and outside of the building, and the speed the fire spread depends on the materials used on the outside of the building. It was a breakthrough where the importance of fire protection was really recognised; we conducted the experiment in 2014, and the regulation in Croatia was changed in 2015.

Otherwise, all eastern countries in Europe take more stringent mandatory measures than trends in Western Europe. Among them, Croatia and Bulgaria have adapted the energy efficiency regulations by prescriptive measures. Take, for example, the definition of tall buildings and skyscrapers; in eastern countries, the borders are lower than they are in Western Europe, and this is extremely important for fire protection. If a fire occurs, the time of evacuation from such buildings is longer. There is no single answer that is the best when it comes to fire protection, for example, it's not enough to just install water sprinklers, but it needs to be a complete approach.

However, everything comes down to money and construction costs. How much more, on average, expensive is it to incorporate a range of inflammable materials into a building?

It's not just a matter of money, the problem lies with insufficient education. Often people, and I'm thinking of building owners and of landlords, don't think about fire protection when building an energy-efficient building. At Fire Safe Europe, we're working to make sure [they know] that using inadequate materials or installing non-certified materials can increase the risk of fire. Talk to your architects and your designers, this isn't just a matter of money. Today's construction is fragmented and the responsibility is also ultimately fragmented. That's the problem. Just take the example of the fires in the middle of the tourist season in Split last year when the fires came down into the city and the citizens and tourists had to evacuate.

Soon, new changes will come into effect. What's that all about?

Croatia, as well as other EU members, will soon be adopting a new long-term energy-building renewal regulation pertaining to the Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD), which was amended this year, which for the first time mentions fire protection in as many as two articles, in which it demands of a member state that when working to reduce energy consumption in buildings, they also take charge of fire safety. The new regulation has to be included in national legislation within two years, for which discussions have already begun in Croatia. It's important to emphasise that European Union funds are available to those who want to make their buildings more energy efficient, and make them safer in the event of a fire.

What's your key message?

Research shows that people often think of fires just after they hear that something is burning somewhere. In other words, fire protection is often not considered as preventive or during energy renewal, and unfortunately that's a fact. Croatia now has a fantastic opportunity to further improve the standards of fire protection within the energy renewal of its buildings. That's why it's important for people to think about fire protection every time they talk about energy efficiency. Imagine, there's no fire protection included at the time of obtaining an energy certificate, so we know how much energy is being consumed but we don't know how the building will behave in the fire. Personally, it's not clear to me how a building can be sustainable and at the same time be able to just burn to the ground.

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Click here for the original article/interview by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 1 October 2018

''LNG Terminal Will Make Us A More Energetically Safe Country''

Is Croatia at an energetic turning point?

Saturday, 29 September 2018

10.5 Million Kuna for School Renovation in Koprivnica-Križevci County

Good news for students in Koprivnica-Križevci County!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

One Billion Kuna for Energy Renewal of Schools, Healthcare Facilities and More

Is more emphasis on energy efficiency on its way to Croatia's public sector facilities?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund Allocates Substantial Funds to JGL

The Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency has been allocated funds in the total amount of 269 million kuna for the projects of 77 Croatian companies.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

''We Invest More Than Three Billion Yearly, We're Biggest Investors in Croatia''

Transmission and distribution are less visible, but remain vital parts of the energy system in each country.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Fancy a House on a Rock? Croatia Will Cover the Cost

Whatever you might think about The Beautiful Croatia, it's not all that bad. The state will occasionally throw an opportunity your way – for example, if your lifelong dream was to escape annoying crowds and live like a hermit on your own microscopic parcel of land far away from the coast, you can now apply for funding to make your house more energy-efficient.

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