Wind power in Croatia has been growing since the first wind farm was installed in the country in 2004. In December 2009 the cumulative wind power is 21.6MW.
The first wind farm was installed on the island of Pag in 2004. In 2006 another farm opened near Šibenik. On July 1, 2007 the Croatian Government enacted five bylaws on incentives to electricity generation from renewable resources, including feed-in tariffs. The largest local developer of wind power is Adria Wind Power
Renewable energy sources, including wind energy, are considered important in Croatia and in the European Union, which Croatia wants to join.
Various studies indicate the Croatian islands and the Adrian coast are good locations for wind energy development. The highest measured wind speeds were 7.3 m/s at 25 m above ground level (~ 8 m/s at 50m).
In 1997 Croatia launched the National Energy Programs (NEP), which included ENWIND or Wind Energy Utilization Program. The utilization program set a target of 400 MW wind energy by 2030. Although the policy is not clearly defined, the state owned utility company HEP decided to offer a feed-in tariff equal to 90 percent of the average electricity price for renewables, which was roughly 5.7 € Cents / kWh. However, this tariff applies only to projects with an installed capacity of less than 5 MW. The feed-in tariff of larger projects must be negotiated on a case to case basis.
One of the most interesting opportunities for wind energy development in Croatia is the 55 inhabited islands. Autonomous wind energy systems could provide these islands with wind turbines and more importantly with clean water by using RO (Reverse Osmosis) desalination systems. The cost of clean water by RO would be about 1.3 – 2.0 € / m3, compared to the current € 5.0 / m3 at some islands.
Croatia has a good potential for wind energy development from a technical point of view, and also has certain basic elements of a proper framework. Installed wind capacity in Croatia has grown to 17 MW as of October 2006.
There are four wind farms in Croatia that foreign investors have funded. The Dalekovod wind farm project is the first being funded by domestic investors and for which contractors are domestic companies. Project turbines will be purchased from Siemens Croatia.
Upon achieving independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Croatia was involved in a violent struggle with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. As with the other participants in this war, the transportation and energy infrastructure was damaged and the economy was devastated. With the formal resolution of the conflict in 1996, international aid and government efforts focused on rebuilding infrastructure and stabilizing the fragile economy. Significant progress has been made and, aside from a return to conflict in 1999, the economy has grown steadily. This environment has facilitated the establishment of democratic and market oriented regimes.
The electricity sector is composed entirely of the state-owned monopoly Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP), who is responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution systems. HEP generates 95 percent of the electricity in Croatia with hydroelectric and thermal generating stations.
Croatia began its transition to democracy and a market-oriented economy in January 2000 with the election of a coalition of democratic parties to Parliament. In June 2001, five pivotal energy laws were passed that were instrumental in establishing the basis for the restructuring of the energy sector. Subsequently, Croatia has become an active member of the “Athens Process,” making the political decision to join the South East Europe Electricity Market as a prerequisite to eventual integration into the single European electricity market.
There has been little investment, foreign or domestic, in Croatia’s power-generating facilities since the country became independent. Thus, due to the age of the country’s existing thermal power plants, large levels of investment are needed to sustain the country’s generating capacity.
The privatization process has accelerated in recent years with the resolution of regional conflicts and the stabilization of the economy. To date, most small- to medium-sized enterprises have been privatized, and the private sector now accounts for about 50 percent of GDP. In July 2001 the government passed energy legislation that brings the Croatian electric sector in line with EU standards with an eye on accession, some of the renewable energy highlights are noted in the following section.
Solar energy for heating purposes has been used in Croatia since 1975 in all kinds of facilities and for various purposes, and the first photovoltaic applications occurred in the late 1980’s. However, the use of solar energy in energy balance remains negligible.
The SUNEN national energy program was established with the aim of stimulating increased solar energy usage. The solar energy application for electric energy generation will depend on the global technology development.
The country is reported as having an aggregate installed capacity of 6 MWth in the year 2000. By far the major part of this is comprised by flat plate collectors used for heat production, for houses, commercial buildings and other installations. During the last war in Croatia (1991-95) most of the solar production activities ceased or were severely curtailed.
Croatia has a centuries-long tradition of using geothermal water from natural springs for medical purposes. In the early 70s, along with research for oil and gas, the existence of geothermal water began being observed. The calculations of temperature gradient based on the data obtained from exploration of the wells showed that the average gradient in the northern part of the country, part of the Pannonian sedimentary basin, is considerably higher than the world average, while in the southern Dinarides area its value is below that figure (0.049°C/m and 0.018°C/m respectively, compared to 0.03°C/m in the world, Jeliæ et al., 1995).
The geothermal potential of the reservoirs in the northern part of Croatia could be a significant renewable energy resource, substantially contributing to the overall energy efficiency and the environmentally acceptable energy policy. The geothermal energy content of the medium temperature reservoirs (between 100 and 200°C) can be converted into electric energy, while that of the low temperature reservoirs (below 100°C) is perfectly suitable for heating and cooling of buildings, heating greenhouses, in various industrial processes, for medical purposes, etc.
The UNDP FINAL REP ON GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES (part II) has highly useful information on Geothermal Energy for a number of countries including Croatia. The Croatian section is reproduced herewith in its main part.
The most prospective fields are located in the following areas:
· In Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) a reservoir containing low-mineralized (2 g/l) thermal water with temperature 55-820C was discovered at a depth of 500-1000 m during exploration drilling.
· In Lunjkovec-Kutnjak a geothermal reservoir formed by high-porous (7.5 percent) carbonate breccia was found. The thermal water contains 5 g/l of dissolved salts and 3 m3/m3 of dissolved gases (mainly CO2). The projected average discharge of wells is 80 kg/s per each well, the wellhead pressure is 3-5 bars, and the wellhead temperature is 125-140 0C.
· In Velika Ciglena a dolomite jointing reservoir located at a depth of 3 km contains geothermal brine (24 g/l) with a gaseous factor of 30 m3/m3 (CO2 and 59 ppm H2S). The expected discharge of operating wells is 100 kg/s with wellhead pressure 20-25 bars and wellhead temperature of 165-1700C.