Croatia’s current investment potential in the sector of renewable energy sources is estimated at about EUR 1 billion, but for the potential to be realized, the country needs to tackle key challenges such as transitioning the incentive system to premiums, according to an advocacy group called Platforma za dobru energiju (Platform for Good Energy). The advocacy group recalled in a news release that the green energy transition is a prerequisite for limiting global warming by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a commitment undertaken by Croatia as a signatory to the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement took effect two years ago, on November 4, 2016, and Croatia has progressed along its energy transition path following a turbulent start, by increasing its overall renewable energy generation capacity and significantly raising awareness of the importance of renewable energy sources, according to the group, which gathers representatives of civil society organizations, the academic community, and business associations with the aim of “promoting modern trends and the implementation of quality public policies in the areas of renewable energy sources.”
For Croatia to attain the Paris Agreement targets and build a modern energy system, a more decisive action is needed, including the adoption of a quality long-term strategy and boosting the share of renewables in the national energy sector, according to the news release, which adds that Croatia’s renewables potential is much higher than the levels achieved so far and as such represents a great opportunity for economic growth, power generation from domestic sources and a long-term reduction of electricity imports, job creation, community development, and higher living standards.
For the potential to be realized, Croatia should adopt an energy sector development strategy to set clear and realistic goals in the segment of renewable energy sources; adopt implementing regulations; create the regulatory framework at a faster pace and more efficiently; and secure a predictable entrepreneurship and investment framework, the advocacy group said.
Advocacy group calls for transition to premiums
The challenges that Croatia must overcome include cutting capital costs given that the country has some of the highest capital costs for solar and wind energy facilities in Europe, as well as transitioning the incentive system to premiums, which will introduce transparency and create a favorable environment for the development of energy entrepreneurship and incentivizing prosumers, according to the advocacy group.
The EU membership also requires Croatia to move faster – the country needs to submit a draft national energy and climate plan until 2030 by the end of this year and the final plan by the end of next year, the news release notes. The plan must show renewables capacities that Croatia will install by 2030, as well as measures to reduce administrative obstacles faced by potential investors, the advocacy group said.
The news release adds that not only large investors are interested in renewables projects, but that an increasing number of individuals and small and medium-sized entrepreneurs see their place on the sustainable energy market as well.
Individuals, cooperatives, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and local governments are taking strides to an increased application of renewable energy sources, using various forms of financing such as those offered by energy cooperatives, EU funds, crowdfunding, and blockchain, the advocacy group recalled.