Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Zagreb Mayor: City Administration Wants to Cooperate with Mainz in Green Transition

ZAGREB, 27 July 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Wednesday held talks with a delegation of the German city of Mainz, led by Mayor Michael Ebling, focusing on cities' adaptation to extreme climate conditions and the development of new renewable energy sources.

The German delegation, which also included business people, visited Zagreb on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the two cities' agreement on cooperation.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Tomašević said that the green transition was one of the biggest challenges in all European cities in the context of climate change and extreme temperatures this summer.

Apart from the green and energy transition, the meeting between the delegations of Zagreb and Mainz also focused on the so-called models of civic energy.

"This is about encouraging the use of renewable sources of energy owned by citizens. Such a model exists in Mainz, where there are foundations and funds facilitating energy transition by citizens. This is politically important to us and we would like to see it also in Zagreb," the Zagreb mayor said.

Tomašević and Ebling discussed economic and cultural cooperation, IT sector development, modernization of the public transportation system and Zagreb's post-earthquake reconstruction.

Mainz is ready to help Zagreb with the post-earthquake reconstruction and is willing to provide a modest contribution to its reconstruction as a token of solidarity, Ebling said.

He noted that Mainz, too, was experiencing the consequences of climate change and heat waves, as evidenced by the fact that the river passing through the city has almost dried up.

Before leaving Zagreb on Thursday, the German delegation will also visit Zagreb's ZICER enterprise centre at the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre.

Ebling said the meeting discussed possibilities of investment in startup businesses.

Zagreb City Assembly chair Joško Klisović said there was a lot of political will the two sides wanted to transform into concrete projects to promote their cooperation. 

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Wednesday, 20 July 2022

SDP Calls for National Council to Combat Energy Crisis

ZAGREB, 20 July 2022 - Deputy whip of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Siniša Hajdaš Dončić said on Wednesday that SDP had submitted a motion to the Sabor for the establishment of a national council for energy and energy transition in order to activate renewables and help citizens in the energy crisis.

energy That proposal, said Hajdaš Dončić, is a hand to the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and all other parties because infrastructure and energy have no party connotations. "It is a Croatian public good and a Coatian national interest," he told a press conference, stressing that a national consensus is needed on the issue of energy.

He explained that due to the growing energy crisis and deviations in supply routes, "but also the timid implementation of some energy policies," SDP has proposed the establishment of a national council which, in addition to Members of Parliament, would include experts and scientists, and which would not be guided by narrow party interests because, he said, we believe that energy is above all political parties.

Hajdaš Dončić said that Croatia has a good energy infrastructure and the possibility of its expansion, but unfortunately, the INA oil company and the HEP power utility, did not expand into energy companies that would provide citizens and entrepreneurs with a much larger protection against inflation and the rapid energy price hikes.

Although the government and the president have their own councils for energy, it is important that the Sabor has one, too, without any party affiliation because many experts who could make a quality contribution shy away from being linked to a party, said Hajdaš Dončić.

SDP calls for a tax reduction on solar systems and energy savings

His party colleague and former environmental minister Mihael Zmajlović said that the intention is not to establish yet another commission or committee for its own sake but to highlight that energy management is a first-class economic and social issue because citizens are feeling the impact of energy price hikes and consequently increased food prices.

Our goal is to encourage the government to set frameworks so that renewable energy sources and natural resources are used as much as possible. Today Croatia is lagging behind in terms of the use of solar energy in Europe, ranking 24th, warned Zmajlović.

SDP has called for incentive systems to be easier, faster and more efficient, and for a VAT reduction for solar systems, Zmajlović said and added that the European Commission has also requested the strengthening of renewable energy sources and provided funds for this. However, he said, the government has not yet responded, even though this would significantly reduce the cost of living for citizens.

According to the proposal, the council chairman would be from the ranks of the opposition, the deputy chair from the ruling majority, following the example of the Anti-Corruption Council, and their term would last as long as the Sabor sits.

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Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Conference: Croatia Can Be a Leader in Green Energy Production

ZAGREB, 6 July 2022 - Owing to its geographic position and abundance of water, sun and wind, Croatia can become a leader in green energy production and an energy hub in this part of Europe, the conference "REPowerEU - Regional Partnership for Fast Energy Transition" heard in Zagreb on Wednesday.

Speaking at the conference, organised by the European Investment Bank (EIB), Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović said that with the help of money from the REPowerEU plan, Croatia would double the capacity of its LNG terminal on Krk island, expand Plinacro's gas network and additionally boost the JANAF oil pipeline's capacity.

Boosting the capacity of the LNG terminal and the gas pipeline leading to Slovenia and Hungary will make it possible to supply those countries with energy products, the minister said, adding that JANAF's capacity could be doubled.

He said that the EC's REPowerEU plan was aimed at ending Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2030.

The EC's plans also include joint gas procurement, the filling of gas storage facilities at European level, implementation of renewables projects and improvement of infrastructure connectivity across Europe, he said.

The REPowerEU plan means much for Croatia as well as its neighbourhood, Filipović said, noting that one should increase investments in gas pipelines and that a medium-term goal was for Croatia to supply gas and some other energy products also to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More than €2.2 bn for greener Croatia

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak said that more than 30% of funding from the European Regional Development Fund had been made available for an energy-wise greener Croatia in the period until 2027.

The amount in question is more than €2.2 billion, and if other sources of financing are added to it, the amount rises to more than €2.5 billion, she said.

The head of the EIB Office in Zagreb, Anton Kovačev, said that growing energy prices were strongly affecting the European economy and that the EIB Group had a major role in ensuring a strong and healthy economic recovery of European countries, with emphasis on green projects.

It is good that Croatia has enough water, wind and sun energy, and they should be used, he said.

The head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Ognian Zlatev, said that energy was the most talked-about topic today.

The world we live in is dangerous, with Russia having weaponised energy, Zlatev said.

All European countries, including Croatia, should save energy, he said, noting that one should invest in energy efficient buildings, electric cars, etc.

EIB vice-president Tereza Czerwinska said that the Ukraine-Russia war had swept over the European landscape, causing all possible kinds of crisis - from personal to energy.

Europe is making effort to reduce dependence on Russian energy and seeking ways to find an alternative, she said.

More should be invested in energy efficiency, and it will also be crucial to invest in high-risk projects and innovations regarding new technologies, Czerwinska stressed.

It was also noted at the conference that Croatia and Slovenia are an excellent example of regional cooperation, largely owing to the fact that they developed as part of the same system, that the biggest national companies have been treating both countries for a long time as a single market, and that that integration will additionally increase after Croatia's imminent euro area accession.

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Friday, 16 July 2021

Gov't Continues to Co-Finance Energy Renovation of Family Homes

ZAGREB, 16 July  (Hina) - The government will continue to co-finance the energy renovation of family homes even though the renovation programme ended last year, while the new one, which will cover the 2021-2030 period, is being prepared, the government decided at a cabinet meeting on Friday.

The government adopted a proposal to extend financing for the programme of energy renovation of family homes for the 2014-2020 period.

Funding for the energy renovation of family homes for this and next year, in the total amount of HRK 400 million, has been secured from the Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and from the distribution of proceeds from the sale of emission units, with HRK 300 million earmarked to co-finance the energy renovation of family homes that were not damaged in last year's earthquakes and HRK 100 million to co-finance the energy renovation of family homes that were damaged in the earthquakes.

The Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund last month issued a call for applications for family home owners, with co-financing amounting to HRK 171 million, and for citizens at risk of energy poverty, with the total co-financing amount of HRK 32 million.

The call was closed on 1 September 2020 after applications far exceeded the planned amount of HRK 203 million. A total of 7,394 applications were received, of which 3,100 were approved, for which HRK 210.9 million was ensured. On the other hand, 1,200 applications did not meet the set criteria while more than half the applications were rejected because funding was insufficient.

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

MEP Picula: Two Million Euros for Energy Transition on Croatian Islands

As Morski writes on the 20th of November, 2019, at a recent Clean Energy Forum for EU islands, which was held in Croatia for the first time, Croatian MEP Tonino Picula presented the priorities and long-term initiatives of the European Parliament to finance the EU's energy transition.

''An agreement between the European Council and the European Parliament on the budget for 2020 secured through the action plan a new two million euros for technical assistance to the islands for applications for European renewable energy projects in the next two years,'' the Croatian MEP confirmed, who then delivered a speech in Split at the fourth Clean Energy Forum for EU Islands, which is being held in the presence of senior Croatian officials, as well as officials from other EU member states.

However, this is not the only piece of good news about European and Croatian islands to come to light, as representatives of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago announced their strategy and transition plan for clean energy within the Forum, with the aim to switch exclusively to renewable energy by 2040, which will be achieved in part by local community-owned solar power plants.

The Cres-Lošinj archipelago is among the six European islands to have recently announced their strategies and transition plans, the others being the Aran Islands (Ireland), Culatra (Portugal), La Palma (Spain), Salina (Italy) and Sifnos (Greece). The Forum will showcase a number of examples of good practice and foster dialogue between the various actors involved in the energy transition process of European islands, and participants will have the opportunity to see different technological solutions.

Picula welcomed the initiative by the Croatian islanders, who from the ten islands involved in the previous call for funding energy transition projects are now the leaders on a European scale.

However, he stressed that the sustainability of the European islands' energy transition requires both long-term and appropriate funding for complex, comprehensive projects and adequate investment in research and innovation to devise workable solutions to facilitate this energy transition, adding that he hoped that talks on the long-term financing of the energy transition of Croatian islands will begin during the Croatian Presidency of the Union in 2020.

''In its interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021 - 2027, the European Parliament proposed the introduction of a special fund of 4.8 billion euros for a new European Union energy transition. These funds would facilitate and offset the transition to renewable energy for those most affected by the transition. The aim of the Fund would be to address social, socio-economic and environmental impacts on workers and communities during the transition, which also implies many EU islands,'' Picula emphasised in his speech.

Picula has been a focus of action since the start of his first term in the European Parliament. Back in 2016, he and his colleague A. Sant presented an Action Plan and submitted an amendment worth 2 million euros to the European budget, with the aim of securing funding for the energy transition of Croatian (and EU) islands.

The lengthy negotiations within the Parliament itself, as well as discussions with the Commission and the Council, led to the inauguration of the Islands Secretariat - the first working body dedicated solely to the islands. The Secretariat was set up within the European Commission in June 2018 and presented in Brussels. It is the first working body in EU history exclusively available to islanders.

MEP Picula has been working to preserve and improve life on the islands since the beginning of his term.

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