Monday, 17 October 2022

Could Offshore Wind Facilities See Croatia Become Electricity Exporter?

October the 17th, 2022 - Might Croatia become an established and successful electricity exporter with the proper development of offshore wind facilities?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, engulfed in the ongoing fear of rising electricity and gas prices, people are increasingly turning to greener, sustainable alternatives. Interest in solar energy is increasing across the country, which has been well and truly confirmed by HEP's data on the matter, as they are being overwhelmed by requests for solar power and household connections to said power source.

In the first six months of last year, there were only 295 requests of that nature, while in the same period this year, that number was a staggering six times higher. By the end of August 2022, almost 2,900 power plants had been installed, of which 1,540 were installed this year alone, reports HRT. Thirteen solar panels on the a roof with three households drawing power from them will be enough, homeowners hope, to slash their bills in half.

''We expect that the power plant will produce approximately 5,000 KWh per year, and in that case we'd actually manage to achieve significant savings on the level of electricity consumption. The system itself should pay for itself in five to six years," says Zoran Kordic, the manager and co-founder of the Green Energy Cooperative.

The number of Croatian households opting for solar power plants is constantly growing, and there are currently a little over 2,800 of them. "We have one solar factory in Croatia, which currently cannot cover all the needs we expect in the coming years. This is a great opportunity for Croatia to invest in this direction as well,'' said Vjeka Ercegovac from the economic interest association Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia.

"The problem is that we don't have enough staff. The number of companies installing solar panels on roofs just isn't enough for the Croatian market, and whoever gets involved in that market will do a good job," says Neven Duic, a professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding in Zagreb.

In addition, the "eternal" problem is this country's ridiculous and painfully slow administration. The connection to HEP's network is what people are typically waiting for the longest. "We have situations where people wait for six months. So, when the installation is already up, and you have to wait six months for the connection, these are situations that absolutely must not be permitted to happen,'' stated Kordic.

HEP also stated that there is a delay in resolving people's requests due to the great interest in this people suddenly have. "The increased interest people are having in solar panels, and thus the enormous increase in the number of requests for connections, is the result of the current energy crisis and the rise in the prices of energy and energy products, as well as tax incentives for the purchase and installation of photovoltaic panels," reads a HEP press release on the topic.

Everything is going in the direction of the Republic of Croatia being 100 percent renewable and self-sufficient when it comes to energy. It is precisely for this reason that the possibility of exploiting offshore wind in northern Adriatic waters is being very seriously considered. It would be, if it ever comes to fruition, a floating wind farm.

"It would theoretically produce 10 kWh of wind, which would be enough not only for Croatian needs, but also for exporting it elsewhere. So, with the development of offshore wind facilities, Croatia could become an exporter of electricity," said Duic. Due to the climatic conditions here in Croatia, Professor Duic believes that, in addition to electricity, we could also export green hydrogen, which could replace fossil fuels.

"Green" and independent

There is no shortage of positive experiences when it comes to savings made thanks to solar panels on your own roof. Igor Balazinec's house has been lit up for two years thanks to his own solar power panels, and the investment should pay for itself in a mere four years. They decided on this move, he says, in order to be "green", independent and to have zero electricity bills.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Krizevci Doubles Number of Households Using Solar Panels

September the 10th, 2022 - Krizevci in the continental part of Croatia is doing excellently when it comes to relying on solar power and becoming more and more green in the energy sense, with the number of Krizevci households using solar power doubling.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, following a recently announced public call/invitation, the mayor of Krizevci, Mario Rajn, signed contracts with an impressive 39 Krizevci residents on the co-financing of the construction of solar power plants on the roofs of their houses.

This is the third year in a row that the co-financing programme for the construction of solar power panels has been implemented, and the number of users compared to 2021 has tripled.

"The people themselves are the backbone of the energy transition. We were the first to introduce this equipment co-financing programme, we were the first to co-finance a public photovoltaic power plant, and we were the first to open the Energy and Climate Office. I'd like to invite the others to use the funds from the call for the creation of project-technical documentation and to be ready next year when the tender opens," said Rajn.

Satisfaction with the increased number of users in Krizevci and beyond was expressed by expert associate Ivana Dubravec on behalf of the energy cooperative KLIK and the Energy and Climate Office, and she had to say the following:

"This year, we prepared as many as 48 applications for project documentation and 35 applications for the construction of solar power panels. It can be seen that our work is recognised within the city of Krizevci and beyond. I'd like to invite you to spread the positive word so that even more people will be able to receive help and that in 2023 we will build even more projects and power plants.''

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Mass Zagreb Solar Panel Installation to Reduce Costs by 80%

July the 14th, 2022 - A mass Zagreb solar panel installation would see spending on electricity cut by a massive 80 percent. Although the Croatian capital has lagged a bit behind the rest of the country in terms of leaning more towards renewable energy sources and the overall green energy transition, it now wants to make up for it with giant steps forward, and even become a national leader.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Zagrebacki suncani krovovi/Zagreb solar panels company would be in charge of carrying out a large energy project of the same name, which aims to start the mass Zagreb solar panel installation on the city's public buildings. The move should ultimately, according to the announcement of Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic, bring 80 percent savings compared to the current costs for electricity energy and reduce CO2 emissions by the same impressive percentage.

The decision to establish a new city company was made at a recently held City Assembly. The company will have no employees, and it will manage investments of more than 300 million kuna. The project was presented at the end of last year when the Croatian Parliament adopted a programme entitled "Integrated solar power plants on public buildings, multi-apartment buildings and family houses and commercial buildings in the Zagreb area for the period from 2022 - 2024".

As explained by Zorislav Antun Petrovic, chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee of the Zagreb City Assembly, the goal of the programme is to increase the use of renewable energy sources while promoting the use of solar energy in public, private and commercial facilities across the capital city.

"The programme will enable the coordinated preparation and construction of integrated solar power panels on the roofs of existing buildings with the ultimate goal of providing electricity from renewable sources. The construction of solar power plants will make it possible to reduce operating costs, create the proper prerequisites for the decarbonisation of the buildings themselves, achieve energy and climate goals, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the share of renewable energy sources," explained Antun Petrovic.

The City Office for Economy, Environmental Sustainability and Strategic Planning, as well as the Regional Energy Agency of Northwest Croatia - REGEA, are both responsible for the operational implementation and management of the programme. The City of Zagreb noted that REGEA itself, as a non-profit institution, is neither registered nor authorised to perform the production or sale/supply of electricity. Therefore, for the purpose of implementing the investment part of the programme, i.e. mass Zagreb solar panel installation on the roofs of buildings, a trading company has been established with the aim of the efficient and timely preparation and implementation of the investments themselves: from design, securing financing to construction and management.

A detailed analysis of 567 of Zagreb's public buildings, excluding buildings owned by Zagreb/Zagrebacki holding, was carried out, and conceptual projects and requests for obtaining power consent for the first 150 were prepared. This is a total capacity of more than 10 MW with an investment value of more than 75 million kuna. According to the study presented by REGEA, it is expected that residents of the city could be involved in the extension of this project, and both the volume of the project and the size of the total investment would increase.

"There's been a successful application to the so-called The Norwegian Fund - a total of seven solar power panels with a power of about 1.3 MW, an investment value of 10 million kuna, with a grant of 85 percent. When preparing the investments themselves, all possible models of implementation will be considered, depending on the specific profile of the roof itself, i.e. the consumption of the specific location, which implies financing through grants from European Union (EU) funds, technical assistance funds from development banks and loans from commercial banks," they stated from the City of Zagreb.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Istrian Apartment Prices Skyrocket, New EU Plan to Cause Further Rises

May the 23rd, 2022 - Istrian apartment prices have shot up recently, and a new European Union (EU) plan regarding greener energy sources is set to contribute to even further price increases.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Istrian apartment prices have been climbing and climbing, and with the recent introduction of obligations to install solar panels for the production of electricity in all new residential buildings as part of an EU directive, they'll likely keep heading on an upward trajectory, writes Jutarnji list.

The European Commission (EC) recently announced the ''REPowerEU'' plan, which aims to quickly reduce the bloc's overall dependence on fossil fuels imported from Russia, against which there are harsh sanctions in place following their invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and further work to encourage the green transition. As part of that move, among other things, the mandatory installation of solar panels on existing public and commercial buildings and all new residential buildings in early 2026 has been put into force.

"The cost of construction will certainly be higher for a new building, and relatively higher for existing ones," said the Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers (HKIG). The chamber also warned that the cost of investment and maintenance of each building should be looked at as a whole, and a cost analysis should be taken into account.

“If we look at the entire so-called life cycle of a building, then there will certainly be no increase in costs due to the installation of solar panels. This will reduce energy costs, which is a significant item when it comes to costs in the phase of using one building,'' the chamber noted.

As is well known, the price of Istrian apartments has been growing very significantly over recent years. Any slightly better position can hardly be bought for less than 2,000 euros per square metre, most often more. New construction, on the other hand, has now approached the price of 3,000 euros per square metre.

The cost of installing solar panels on these buildings ranges from 40 thousand to 70 thousand kuna.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Medulin Solar Power Goal Given Spring in Step With 3.06 Million Kuna

May the 18th, 2022 - The Medulin solar power goal has been given a very welcome spring in its step in the form of a cash injection worth 3.06 million kuna in total.

One of the Republic of Croatia's (many) natural riches is the sheer amount of hours of unfiltered sunshine it gets on an annual basis, and one way in which Croatia could save an incredible amount of money, time and contribute in a very positive way to protecting the environment would be to continue to invest heavily in its solar power capacities. The Medulin solar power aim will certainly be launched thanks to this latest sum.

As Morski writes, based on the application of the Municipality of Medulin for the "Energy and Climate Change" programme, the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union (EU) Funds recently passed a decision on financing a project proposal entitled: "Increasing the capacity for solar energy production in public facilities of the Municipality of Medulin" in the amount of 3.06 million kuna. The Municipality of Medulin provided 287,889.00 kuna from its own funds for the project.

The project foresees the installation of seven photovoltaic power plants on the roofs of multiple buildings across Medulin, and each of the installed FNEs will be connected to the existing electricity network, with the aim of consuming most of the electricity produced at the facility and the eventual handover of "surplus" electricity which has also been produced back to the public electricity network, local portal Istra24 has learned.

The realisation of this praiseworthy project will enable the production of 0.234 MW from solar energy alone, resulting in savings and a better approach in regard to climate change and environmental protection. The newly installed capacities of the Municipality of Medulin for the use of energy from renewable sources will contribute to an increase in solar energy production by 330.42 MWh/year, while annual CO2 emissions will be reduced by as much as 52.41, according to a statement from the Municipality of Medulin.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Croatian Company Valamar Turning to Solar Power for Hotels

May the 13th, 2022 - The Croatian company Valamar, which is huge and very well known in the tourism sector, is turning more and more towards solar power to provide electricity to its hotels by the year 2025.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the development of tourism in Croatia must be sustainable and be guided by the principles of the benefit of everyone and the environment, not pure profitability. This and more could be heard at the presentation of the cooperation between the Croatian company Valamar and E.ON recently in Porec.

It was emphasised that energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are one of the most important focuses of this principle.

SaIvana Budin Arhanic, a member of Valamar's Management Board, explained that they have been investing in renewable energy sources for years now, and currently they produce about about six percent of their own electricity. Over the past four years, Valamar has invested a total of 400 million kuna in energy efficiency projects.

"The amount of total electricity produced from RES corresponds to consumption on the island of Sv. Nikola in Porec and the tourist resources located here are completely covered from that source. However, the Croatian company Valamar, as a corporation, exclusively buys green energy, which in turn allows us to maintain the highest environmental EU standards,'' said Budin Arhanic. Alen Benkovic, Valamar's senior vice president for technology, pointed out that the 2nd and 3rd phases of the RES development project in Valamar are already being prepared.

"The plan is that by the year 2025, 20 percent of our consumption will come from our own sources. It's clear that there are many administrative and technical obstacles, but the goal is ambitious and we really do hope we manage to achieve it. It's more and more about respecting the environment and about ecology, but also security of supply and the price itself,'' said Benkovic.

Vedran Belamaric, Director of Energy Solutions at E.ON Croatia, pointed out that the project with the large Croatian company Valamar launched 2.5 years ago was very logistically demanding.

"This is a very innovative business model that includes a kind of ESCO, or BOT (Build Operate Transfer) model, so that at first the power plant is ours, until the sale of energy pays off, and then becomes the property of Valamar. It's a technically very demanding project that includes 26 locations with 68 facilities, installed capacities of 3.5 MW, which means about 5 GWh of electricity produced per year,'' explained Belamaric.

He added that they have significant problems, both in Istria and in the rest of Croatia, with bureaucracy and there are a number of solar power plants that have been built, but due to "paperwork" still can not be put into operation. Some of them have been waiting to be put into full function for more than a year now. The situation is almost the same with investments made by companies as with power plants installed by people themselves.

E.ON has implemented or is implementing about 50 projects across the Republic of Croatia for business users with a total installed capacity of 40 MW solar power plants, and they also have a large number of households in their impressive portfolio. Andreas Rorig, President of the Management Board of E.ON Croatia, pointed out at the aforementioned recent event in Porec that solar energy has the most significant growth potential in the coming years in Croatia.

"Istria and Dalmatia have 40 percent more insolation compared to, for example, Munich, creating the same percentage of earlier return on investment. By installing home solar power plants, we've helped our customers achieve energy efficiency and independence, and we're continuing to develop smart and diverse energy solutions tailored to the needs of modern households. Together with our business customers such as Valamar Riviera, Pliva, Zito Group, Bauhaus, Gavrilovic, Atlantic and other industry leaders and sustainability leaders, we're working hard in order to realise the solar potential of the Croatian market and shape that market together.

Throughout 2022, we're going to invest at least 12.5 million euros through BOT models with energy purchase agreements (PPAs) with our customers. In addition, we expect more than 25 million euros to invest in other solar projects that we're currently working on,'' concluded Rorig.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Žito Group, E.ON Sign Contract for Construction of Solar Power Plant

ZAGREB, 6 May (2022) - Žito Group and E.ON Solar, a company that is part of the E.ON Croatia Group, have signed a contract for the construction of a solar power plant on the premises of the vegetable oil factory in Čepin, which is expected to help save 2.6 gigawatt hours of energy a year and should be put into operation in June.

The new solar power plant will be the eight solar power plant Žito Group operates as part of its energy and environmental strategy.

The seven previously built plants have a total capacity of 2.3 megawatts. The new plant will have a capacity of 2 megawatts and will be the biggest of the eight plants.

Žito Group accounts for 0.3% of the annual electricity consumption in Croatia.

Using organic waste from the group's farms, Žito Group's four biogas units produce 43 gigawatts of electricity a year, which exceeds the group's total consumption. The group expects its energy production to become twice as high as its consumption by the end of 2025, its officials have said, noting that this makes Žito Group one of the most environmentally responsible businesses in Croatia.

Žito Group is a leading agricultural and food group in Slavonia and employs more than 1,350 workers.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Medjimurje Company Sobocan Invests 4.5 Million Kuna in Own Solar Energy

April the 25th, 2022 - The Medjimurje company Sobocan has invested a massive 4.5 million kuna into its very own solar energy power plant as more and more companies begin turning towards greener paths for their energy sources.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the very well known Medjimurje company Sobocan, a manufacturer of furniture and equipment from Mursko Sredisce, officially launched its very own solar power plant on Friday night. The investment in the plant stands at a huge 4.5 million kuna, of which 2.2 million kuna was co-financed with European Union (EU) money, and the rest financed with the company's own capital.

As many as 2,400 photovoltaic panels have been installed on the roof of their production hall, which will produce 900 kilowatt hours of power, thanks to which the Medjimurje company Sobocan will be able to cover almost 70 percent of its electricity needs from its own production in the future. Sobocan will save at least 1.5 million kuna a year on electricity bills (if we're measuring them at the current electricity prices).

"By putting the solar power plant into operation, we're completing the cycle of green transition of our business, which we started back in 2016 with the construction of a wood waste incineration plant. I can proudly say that the Medjimurje company Sobocan is one of the leaders and best examples in the implementation of solutions based on renewable energy sources,'' said the owner and founder of the company, Franjo Sobocan.

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric said that the Medjimurje company Sobocan clearly recognised the direction in which it should develop its business in accordance with the green transition.

"Sobocan, as a competitive company that exports almost 70 percent of its production and provides its employees with above-average Croatian industry income, can be an example to the entire industrial complex across the rest of Croatia," said the minister of this praiseworthy and environmentally friendly investment.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Solar-Powered Catamarans Sail Through the Island of Mljet

February 13, 2022 - The iCat company is known for innovating in maritime navigation technology, seeking to connect the mainland with the islands in a fast, efficient and ecological way. This can already be seen on the island of Mljet, which now has three of its solar-powered catamarans.

Solar energy is the driving force behind the ships that Tomislav Uroda from Zagreb wants to make this type of transport more ecological, faster, and more comfortable, and his self-sustaining vessels have been succeeding on Mljet for several years, reports Index.hr.

Frustration at Tomislav Uroda's very rare and poor inter-island transport prompted him to try to work out a solution to this maritime problem in his own workshop. The idea that one larger ship sails several smaller ones a day, which will also be energy efficient and acceptable for Europe's future of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, combating climate change, and investing in green technologies, has grown into a successful international story.

"We wanted a better, more luxurious alternative"

At that time, the young mechanical and shipbuilding engineer, a native of Zagreb with roots in the island of Murter, started his business venture ten years ago by founding iCat, and in the years that followed he stood by the leading innovators in the world. He saw an opportunity to conquer the market in solar and electric ships.

"From the beginning, we didn't want to invent a cheap product, but we wanted a better, more luxurious version of that shipping, and therefore not only in the passenger, economic part but also in the technical part - from accumulation, batteries to solar," says Uroda.

Connecting the island with the mainland, making shipping a faster and more comfortable way to travel, and overcoming the problem of fuel shortages on the island were key problems in the Mljet National Park, where the first three solar-powered catamarans operate. These three ships named babyCat, powered by solar panels on the roof of the ship, are the first such self-sustaining ships in the world. They develop a speed of at most 9.5 knots and receive 54 passengers. Excess solar energy is stored in the batteries on board.

The boat can be recharged

"The solar-powered catamarans also has coastal chargers, which means that it can be recharged from the coastal port. This replenishment is a good option, and ships on Mljet have been sailing for several years in the summer months and there was never a need for recharging because enough energy is obtained from solar power,” the 50-year-old said.

solar-powered-catamarans-3.jpg

The island of Mljet (Photo: Mario Romulić)

"We built another such catamaran, but it was just finished at the time of the general closure. Just as air and bus transport disappeared, so did ours. In the few months of this pandemic, there was no interest in our ships at all, but we have been receiving inquiries every day for some time", says Tomislav, who plans to market his products all over Europe, and then, when the conditions are created, all over the world.

In addition to the solarCat ship, as presented at Jarun, on the same production platform it is possible to build two other types of solar-powered catamarans - one slightly wider, which will have a hundred seats and the other with a double bow, or a ship that does not turn while driving but operates shorter distances.

"We realized that this job is not attractive"

''The workforce is also a big problem'', says Uroda.

"We dreamed of having our own workers in the production plant, but over time we realized that this job is not attractive and that people will come and go here. Croatia no longer has a workforce. We are aware of the situation, but our development team is constant.", stressed Uroda.

Greater use of the potential of solar energy is one of the main goals of the European Green Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030. Intensified use of renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency are key factors in achieving this ambition.

Ambitions in Croatia need to be encouraged, and citizens need to be educated about the benefits of using solar energy, was the conclusion of a two-day conference "Days of the Sun" held at the end of October last year in Hvar. The solar sector is developing very slowly, although the price of such energy is lower than ever, it was said at the gathering.

For more information on the solar-powered catamarans by iCat, click here.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

HEP's Medjimurje Solar Power Plant to Become Croatia's Largest

February the 2nd, 2022 - The up and coming Medjimurje solar power plant is set to become the largest in all of the Republic of Croatia as HEP continues its investment cycle.

As Novac/Jutarnji writes, back in December 2021, the Kosora Jug solar power plant with a connection capacity of 2.1 MW began regular operation. This is the realisation of the first phase of the planned construction in the southern part of the Kosora Work Zone in the area of Vrlika. Almost 5,500 photovoltaic modules have been installed in the 2.6-hectare power plant, and the expected annual production of about 2.9 million kWh will be enough to meet the consumption of approximately one thousand households. HEP has invested around 11 million kuna in this power plant.

At the other end of Croatia, the construction of the largest solar power plant is starting. In January this year, HEP Proizvodnja and Koncar - Energy and Transport Engineering signed a contract for the design and construction of the Donja Dubrava Solar Power Plant, commonly referred to as the Medjimurje solar power plant. SE Donja Dubrava will be located on an area spanning around 17.6 hectares in the Municipality of Sveta Marija in Medjimurje County, next to the Dubrava Hydroelectric Power Plant.

The new Medjimurje solar power plant will have a maximum output power of 9.99 MW, or 12.35 MW of installed power, with the expected annual production of SE Donja Dubrava standing at around 14.8 GWh. Its production will avoid emissions of 167 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide during 30 years of operation.

The specificity of the location where the new Medjimurje solar power plant will be constructed is the fact that there is an existence of a significant amount of wood mass, with an approximate volume of 1,400 cubic metres. This wood mass will be converted into wood that will be used as fuel at the location of the BE-TO Sisak biomass cogeneration plant. The total value of the signed contract is almost 58 million kuna, and the deadline is eleven months.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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