Croatia has around four million inhabitants and rich potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency. In 2016 the country imported 53.3 per cent of its total primary energy supply, compared to an EU average of 55 per cent. Croatia produces oil and gas but unlike most of its Western Balkan neighbours, it no longer has its own coal reserves.
Croatia produces only about half of its own electricity, depending on hydrological conditions. Most of the electricity generation capacity is owned by Hrvatska Elektroprivreda, the state-owned electricity group. In 2018, 58.6 per cent of domestically generated electricity came from hydropower, 10.9 per cent from coal, 17.4 per cent from oil/gas, 10.1 per cent from wind, 2.4 per cent from biomass and 0.6 per cent from solar. Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia, of which HEP owns 50 percent, also contributes to Croatia’s electricity supply but is counted under imports in the statistics.
Electricity generation in Croatia, 2018, GWh
|Oil and gas||Wind||Biomass/Biogas||Solar PV|
Source: EIHP: Energy in Croatia 2018
Although Croatia has made some progress in using its wind potential, solar and solar thermal are underused compared to the obvious potential in this very sunny country.
|IRENA Cost-competitive potential||3173 MW
|SEERMAP Decarbonisation scenario (2050 minus 2016)||1839 MW
|SEE-SEP The EU Road scenario||6950 MW
Renewables and energy efficiency development was for years held back by small renewables incentive quotas for support for wind and especially solar. In line with EU State aid rules, Croatia has now switched to auctioning and feed-in premiums rather than feed-in tariffs, but delays in adopting the implementing legislation and adopting new energy and climate strategies created uncertainty regarding the country’s future plans.
Much time and resources have also been lost on pushing outdated projects such as the 500 MW Plomin C coal power plant, to be run on imported coal, the 450 MW Peruća gas power plant, and large-scale hydropower projects in sensitive locations such as Ombla and Kosinj. The first three have now been cancelled after civil society campaigns highlighted their weaknesses. However a highly unpopular and weakly justified floating LNG terminal on the island of Krk is still planned, with financial support from the EU.
Croatia still has plenty of potential for energy efficiency improvements, especially in the residential sector. Its energy intensity was 26 percent above the EU-28 figure in 2017.
More on coal in the Balkans
12 years and counting: Pollution control investment at Bosnia’s Ugljevik coal plant still showing no results
Upgrades to the coal power plants in the Western Balkans that would bring down sulphur dioxide emissions are rare. But even where investments have been made, they have so far failed to deliver the much-needed results.
One of the leading reasons for the extremely polluted air are the outdated and substandard coal-fired power plants in the region. The 16 plants operating in the Western Balkan countries emit as much sulphur dioxide and dust pollution as the entire fleet of coal plants in the EU.
There are few things one can be sure of in life, but the constant anxiety communities near Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Tuzla power plant experience is one of them.