Croatia has a current total of 27.75 MW of wind energy

Stretching almost the entire length of the Eastern Adriatic Sea, Croatia’s plentiful coastline and long coastal islands make it an ideal location for wind farms.

Although the country leads the Balkans when it comes to wind power, it is a relative newcomer to the sector. Its first wind farm with a total capacity of 5.95 MW was installed in 2004 on Pag, the fifth largest island in Croatia.

Situated in the northern Adriatic Sea, Pag – an island also famous for lace making – is buffeted by the Bora wind, which in pre-Slavic means ‘cruel wind’.

In 2006 a second wind farm opened near Sibenik – one of the oldest towns in Croatia which was first mentioned in 1066 in a Charter of the Croatian King Petar Kresimir IV. Currently, this wind farm – called Trtar Krtolin – is the largest wind farm in the country with an installed capacity of 11.2 MW.

Croatia has a current total of 27.75 MW of wind power – the combined total of four wind farms across the country. Two additional wind farms with a combined total of 51.2 MW are undergoing a trial run.

In addition, there are several wind turbines projects under construction in the country with a combined total of 30 MW. These wind farms are awaiting equipment deliveries, but they should be fully installed by the end of this year.

While wind energy in Croatia is still small fry compared to nearby Italy, its total capacity is on the rise: back in 2007 Croatia had 17 MW
installed, rising only slightly to 18 MW by the end of 2008, EWEA’s figures show.

Looking at the overall power mix, the country currently gets most of its energy  from gas, while hydropower also plays a significant role. In terms of renewable energies, Croatia is set to reach a 5.8% renewable energy share by the end of 2010 (excluding large hydro), according to the Energy Institute Hrvoje Poznar.

Wind energy will provide the biggest contribution in achieving this target, the Institute said. In order to encourage a greater development of renewables, in July 2007 five regulations were enacted on incentives to generate electricity from renewable sources, including feed-in tariffs.

In 2010 the feed-in tariff for wind power was €0.09/kWh. However, the Energy Institute Hrvoje Poznar said that there are still some unresolved issues surrounding the regulations, such as a lack of coordination between energy and construction laws.

A wind farm developer may also have to obtain several different permits and have multiple contacts with different state institutions before getting the green light for a wind farm.

Croatia and its surrounding countries are also working on creating a regional energy market. In October 2005, Croatia, an EU candidate country, the EU and nine other South-Eastern European countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Romania – signed the Energy Community Treaty. (Since then, Ukraine has also joined the Energy Community, while Romania and Bulgaria have become EU Member States.)

This treaty, which was also the first legally binding agreement signed by the South East European states since the 1990 wars, aims to create the legal basis for an integrated European market for electricity and gas.

By Zoë Casey,