Chinese investment boosts Croatian wind farm project

A Chinese-invested wind farm project near Croatia’s Adriatic coastal city Senj officially kicked off on Tuesday.

The 156MW Senj wind farm project is operated by Energija Projekt d.d., a company specially set up to run the project in 2011. China’s Norinco International Co. Ltd. signed an equity purchase agreement with Energija Projekt on Nov. 27, 2017.

According to the agreement, Norinco acquired 76 percent of the Croatian company’s equity with around 32 million euros (about 36 million U.S. dollars), while the total investment in the project could reach 179 million euros.

The delivery of the company was completed at the end of September. In two years, 39 wind turbines will be built on the windy mountainous area eight kilometers northeast of Senj. The nearly 45-square-kilometer wind farm will be producing 530 million kilowatts of electricity annually.

Speaking at the commencement ceremony Tuesday, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the project was a great example of economic cooperation between Croatia and China.

“I am sure that the project will be realized in the next two years as it is planned. That means that part of the work will be done by Croatian subcontractors and that at least 100 people will be employed in this project,” Plenkovic said, while noting that Croatia wants to boost cooperation with China especially in infrastructure, railways and ports.

In an interview with Xinhua, the prime minister pointed out that despite the fact that Croatia is importing a fair amount of electricity, the country has never faced any shortage of electricity in recent years, while the wind farm project is an excellent contribution to the increase of renewable energy in Croatian electricity market.

Plenkovic also expressed confidence in entrusting Norinco International on the job. “We have full confidence… We believe it is an excellent example of direct Chinese investment in Croatia. We believe this example will lead other Chinese investors to look for opportunities and partners and projects in Croatian market.”

“This is an important piece of mosaic of very solid and dynamic Croatian-Chinese cooperation in the years to come,” he concluded.

Responding to trust from the Croatian side, Wang Yitong, Board Chairman of Norinco International, assured that his company will abide by local laws and regulations and work together with Croatian partners in order to present a high-quality project with efficiency.

Senj’s mayor Sanjin Rukavina told Xinhua that the wind farm is an important project to the city because it is a very big investment.

“We support this project strongly… According to some estimates the city will earn more than four million kuna (about 612,000 U.S. dollars) per year once the wind farm is in function,” said the mayor.