Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Senj Wind Farm Opened for Trial Run

ZAGREB, 7 Dec, 2021 - The Senj wind farm, a €200 million investment project by the Chinese company Norinco and the biggest Chinese investment in clean energy in Croatia, was formally opened for a trial run on Tuesday.

The 156 megawatt capacity wind farm stretches over about 60 square kilometres inland from the northern Adriatic town of Senj. It has 39 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 4 MW, and the estimated annual production capacity is 530 million kWh.

The wind farm was built by the Croatian subsidiary of the Chinese state company Norinco International Cooperation, the majority owner of the Senj-based energy company Energija Projekt.

The wind farm was opened remotely by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who pressed the button at a ceremony in the Hotel Sheraton in Zagreb, with representatives of the Chinese company attending.

Plenković said that the project would contribute to Croatia's green transition. Being a Chinese investment, he noted that this was a unique project in central and eastern Europe making Norinco one of the largest investors in the green economy in Croatia.

The project will also contribute to the active use of renewable energy sources. The 39 wind turbines and their total annual output of about 0.5 terawatt-hours will make an important contribution to total electricity production in Croatia, the prime minister said.

"One of the main objectives is to increase the production of electricity from renewable sources to 30 per cent already next year, and I think projects like this will help us achieve that objective," Plenković said. "That will help reduce electricity imports and further promote low-carbon development with the ultimate goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050," the prime minister said, noting that the capacity of the wind farms in Croatia had increased by 65 per cent over the last five years.

Project should be viewed in wider context of Croatia-China relations

The prime minister also said he wanted to put the project in the wider context of the relations between Croatia and China, which which the Croatian government decided to advance relations in recent years.

In doing so, Croatia utilised the China+17 format and hosted in Dubrovnik in spring 2019 a meeting of that initiative, which connects China and countries in central and eastern Europe, Plenković said, recalling that Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang attended.

The China+17 format has markedly advanced and intensified China-Croatia relations, with trade amounting to €1.4 billion in 2020 and even more this year.

"That shows that in a time of responsibility for this government, Croatia-China relations have gained quite another dimension," Plenković said, recalling that he officially visited China in autumn 2018, when he talked about this investment with Norinco's executives.

He voiced hope that there will be more Chinese investment in Croatia, and mentioned the construction of Pelješac Bridge, calling it the most visible and significant project by Chinese companies in Croatia.

The prime minister also recalled China's assistance in the procurement of protective gear during the pandemic.

Addresses were also made by representatives of Norinco, a representative of the Chinese Embassy, and by Norinco CEO Jiao Kaihe and Croatian Ambassador Dario Mihelin via video from Beijing. A note of congratulations from the Chinese prime minister was also read out.

The Belt and Road Initiative

The Chinese highlighted their Belt and Road Initiative as part of which they are funding infrastructure building in many countries. For the project in Senj and Brinje they hired more than 40 local subcontractors and suppliers as well as 260 domestic workers.

They also said the project will contribute to green and low-carbon development, the development of the local community, and deeper Croatia-China relations.

They said China will accelerate its green transition as well as actively support and intensify international cooperation in the green economy. Also, they said China's development is not a threat but can benefit the whole world, including Croatia.

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Friday, 11 September 2020

HEP Puts into Operation Largest Solar Power Plant in Croatia

ZAGREB, Sept 11, 2020 - The HEP power company, on the southern island of Vis on Friday, put into operation the largest solar power plant in Croatia, worth HRK 31 million, 3.5 MW in power and expected to produce five million kWh of electricity a year, enough for 1,600 households.

With this first large solar power plant on a Croatian island, Vis has its own source of renewable energy and greater security of electricity supply, notably during summer when consumption is higher, it was said at the inauguration.

SE Vis is the first of seven solar power plants HEP will put into operation this year as part of an HRK 750 million cycle of building such plants from 2019 to 2023.

HEP CEO France Barbaric said the company expected to realize over HRK 4 billion in investment projects this year, a record amount, "notably projects with a large domestic component with which we are strongly contributing to the development and stability of the Croatian economy. Our focus is on projects which will improve the quality of life on the islands."

The inauguration of the largest solar power plant in Croatia is the beginning of what will happen in the next ten years, said Ivo Milatic, state secretary at the Economy Ministry.

He recalled that in 2017 the government had embarked on a new energy policy focusing on investment in green energy. "This power plant is the best example of such investment and, on behalf of the government, I congratulate HEP and Koncar on the realization of this valuable investment for Croatia's energy and economy."

Koncar is the company that built SE Vis.

HEP said a 1 MW, 1.44 MWh battery would be installed by SE Vis, the first of this size in Croatia, to balance the power supply system and keep the grid on Vis island stable.

HEP is investing about HRK 1 million in the improvement of the island's power infrastructure and next year it will invest almost HRK 30 million in numerous projects.

"SE Vis, together with the other solar power plant projects under construction, such as SE Vrlika, and those under development, such as the Bogomolje plant on Hvar island and others, will keep Split-Dalmatia County the leader in renewables in Croatia," said county head Blazenko Boban.

HEP announced that it would build additional 1,500 MW production capacities by 2030, nearly half of which would be wind parks and solar power plants, which matches the power of the Krsko Nuclear Plant.

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Monday, 4 November 2019

Renewables Both Challenge and Opportunity for Economic Growth

ZAGREB, November 4, 2019 The association called "The Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia", whose acronym in Croatian is OIEH, said on Monday, on the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Paris climate change agreement, that the application of renewables in Croatia could also provide opportunities for economic growth and not only challenges.

The Paris treaty, which was seen as a watershed in the struggle against climate change, was signed in 2016 as an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.

The agreement stated that it would enter into force only if 55 countries that produce at least 55% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions ratify, accept, approve or accede to the agreement.

Croatia has undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore it is necessary to carry out the transition to low-carbon production and renewables.

Croatia is expected to adopt two documents by the end of this year: a strategy for energy development in the period until 2030 with an outlook for the period until 2050, which envisages a much higher share of energy from renewable sources, greater energy efficiency and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and a national 2012-2030 national energy and climate plan.

Last Thursday, the government forwarded the draft strategy to the parliament.

The funds required to implement the strategy range between 378 and 461 billion kuna or between 12.5 and 15 billion kuna annually. Investments will be more intensive in the period until 2030 (14-17 billion kuna), and in the period from 2031 to 2050 they will amount to between 12 and 15 billion kuna, the government said.

At the end of 2018, the share of renewables in total energy consumption in Croatia was 28%, which is more than regulated by the EU.

In 2017, the share of renewables in total domestic energy consumption was 27.3%.

According to the findings of a survey conducted by Eurobarometer, 41% of Croatians believe that it is necessary to increase financial support for efforts aimed at transitioning to clean energy, and every second Croat wants their country to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 8 April 2019

HEP to Invest 100 Million Euro in Solar Power Plants

ZAGREB, April 8, 2019 - Croatia's HEP national electricity provider on Monday presented a new investment cycle in solar power plants valued at 750 million kuna with the first investments to be made in the Kaštelir, Cres, Vis and Vrlika Jug plants with a total power of 11.6 megawatts (MW) and a value of 80 million kuna.

HEP management board chair Frane Barbarić said that under the big investment scheme the company would invest 750 million kuna by 2023 or 150 million kuna a year for that purpose.

Of the four above-mentioned facilities, the Sabadin plant, which will now be renamed to Kaštelir has been already purchased from the former owner.

Barbaić said that it is expected that by 2030 the power plants will produce 350 MW, which is seven times more than the power currently produced by all the solar power plants in Croatia.

He added that HEP has launched a strong investment cycle in renewable energy sources and that in addition to solar plants, investments will be made in hydro-electricity power plants, wind farms and other renewables. Thus, HEP plans to start building its first wind farm this year.

Barbarić mentioned that HEP's plan to construct solar power plants on the tops of its buildings with a power of 2.1 MW, a project estimated to cost 13 million kuna.

Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that the main focus of Croatia's Energy Strategy by 2030 is renewable energy sources.

We have huge energy potential from the sun and wind, Ćorić said and added that this year the ministry will subsidise "solar plants" on household roofs. This is a good investment and proof that Croatia is concerned with environment protection, he added.

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Tomislav Ćorić Discusses Croatia's Aims in Renewable Energy in Bilbao

As Jasmina Trstenjak/Novac writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the Republic of Croatia must, and is, turning more and more strongly towards using its own renewable energy sources, this was the main message of the Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy of Tomislav Ćorić at the Wind Europe 2019 Conference & Exhibition, held April from the 2nd to the 4th of this month in Bilbao, Spain.

It's been three and a half years since the historic COP 21 in Paris, which was one of the most important first steps towards a global low-carbon transition. The goal is to limit global warming below 2 degrees celsius, up to a maximum of 1.5 degrees celsius.

"Although we've done a lot since then, there are still many challenges ahead of us," Ćorić stated at the beginning of his speech on the subject, held at the largest and the most significant European event in the area of ​​wind energy use, in which the Republic of Croatia participated for the very first time.

The conference is focused on clean energy for Europe and brings together key European institutions and the European economy in the wind industry, 8000 participants, 300 exhibitors from various countries and as many as 155 speakers, including Croatia's Tomislav Ćorić, who presented those present with Croatian experiences and further plans.

He recalled the fact that Croatia realised that, for security reasons, it has to turn much more towards its own sources of energy, primarily relying on hydropower, the sun and the wind.

''We will intensively support the development of geothermal, biomass and biogas projects, addressing the needs of the industry, agriculture, and all those sectors that need the synergistic effect of electricity and heat production in a highly efficient manner,'' he continued by briefly outlining Croatia's energy plans, adding that a very important segment of energy transition is the increased share of electricity in transport, such as in heating and cooling systems.

Additional space can be seen in Croatian tourism, which accounts for almost 20 percent of the country's GDP, and has a disadvantageous relationship between the supply and demand of electricity in summer tourist months, so we can see the need for, and the opportunity to introduce a micro solar system. Tourism will profit even more, Tomislav Ćorić believes, with the electrification of transport, he therefore believes that it would be good to open the story of corporate contracts on the purchase of electricity in tourism.

Adding to the issue of tourism, he pointed out that Croatia is known for its more than 1,000 islands and that the island's dependence on energy imports could be reduced by the greater use of renewable sources and innovative energy systems, which could also lead to welcome cost reductions. Accordingly, the European Commission has started its initiative on the energy transition of European islands with a view to seeing them eventually become sustainable, and Croatia is aiming to continue this work during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of Europe, so as to continue to ensure the development of the energy transition strategy on Croatia's many islands.

''Among the 26 European islands are the Cres-Lošinj archipelago and Korčula, Brač and Hvar. In the first phase, Cres will make its energy transition plan this summer, and next year, Hvar, Brač and Korčula will do the same,'' the minister stated.

He also took the opportunity to announce Croatia's new energy strategy which is being brought in as early as this year, in which one of the key goals will be to increase the production of both wind and sun-sourced electricity.

''In line with this, we expect more renewable energy sources than in the past ten years. The goal is to have three times more wind and twenty times more solar energy in the next ten years. With the wind and other choices of renewable energy, we will achieve 32 percent of our total energy needs by 2030 and at least 56 percent by 2050, and the transition to renewable energy will reduce harmful emissions. We believe that further growth in green energy investment will also affect the country's development itself, as well as [provide] new employment and industry growth,'' concluded Minister Tomislav Ćorić at the Bilbao conference.

Maja Pokrovac, the director of the Croatia Renewable Energy Association, added that with the aim of achieving 32 percent of renewable sources, Croatia will contribute 36.4 percent according to the National Climate Action Plan and Action Plan sent to Brussels in late 2018, while the director of WindEurope, Giles Dickson, expressed his pleasant surprise with the fact that Croatia is the most optimistic country in JI Europe when it comes to the share of renewables in consumption.

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Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak for Novac/Jutarnji

Thursday, 6 December 2018

3.6 Billion Kuna Invested in Hydropower Plants in Croatia

 ZAGREB, December 6, 2018 - The national power provider HEP is implementing a large-scale investment cycle that includes 3.6 billion kuna worth of investment in revitalising hydropower plants in Croatia, which will contribute to GDP growth, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Ozalj on Thursday at a ceremony marking the launch of power generator B at the Ozalj 1 hydropower plant on the Kupa river.

The new power generator was added to the plant which is marking the 110th anniversary of its existence.

HEP has so far invested 1.4 billion kuna and will invest an additional 2.2 billion kuna over the next 10 years, the prime minister said at the ceremony in Ozalj, 50 kilometres south of Zagreb.

Plenković said that the upgrade work on this power plant was worth 60 million kuna and would prolong the plant's working life.

"Croatia wants to strengthen its hydropower capacity and continue this trend in the coming years, which is also excellent on the European level. We have already met the EU target for 2030 regarding energy from renewable sources," the prime minister said.

In 2014, EU member states agreed on a new renewable energy target of at least 27% of the EU’s final energy consumption by 2030, as part of the EU's energy and climate goals for 2030.

Speaking of HEP's investment cycle and its contribution to national economic growth, Plenković said that when it came to "the strategic triangle: fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and investment, emphasis should be put on investment as the driver of growth and development and eventually employment."

HEP management board chairman Frano Barbarić said that the company would further develop itself in the production of electricity from renewables.

He recalled the company's project of the construction of a solar power station on the northern Adriatic island of Cres, the first in a series of planned power plants to run on solar power and other renewables.

At a contract-signing ceremony on Cres in late June, Brbarić said then that by 2050 HEP would produce 70% of electricity from renewable resources.

The power plant will be built on an area of 17 hectares and will have a capacity of 6.5 megawatts. That is 6.5 times more than the largest existing plant of this type in the country. It will produce an average of 8.5 million kilowatt hours a year, which is approximately the consumption of 2,000 households.

For more on renewable sources of energy in Croatia, click here.

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.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Croatian Tourism Turning Towards Renewable Energy Sources

All the sunny hours through the year can help hotels save on energy bills.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Croatia Meets National Target for Share of Renewable Energy

In the European Union, the share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption in 2015 will further increase to the planned 20 percent in 2020, while 11 countries, including Croatia, have already achieved their target objectives at the national level, according to the latest report from Eurostat.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Croatia’s Renewable Energy Future in Question?

Association of Renewable Energy is worried about the future of renewable energy in Croatia.

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