Renewables

Croatia’s offshore wind potential estimated at 25 GW

croatia offshore wind potential 25 GW study floating wind solar

Photo: Anette Bjerg from Pixabay

Published

May 15, 2023

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Published:

May 15, 2023

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Croatia has the potential to install offshore wind farms of 25 GW in total, according to the Action Plan for Renewable Energy Sources at Sea in Croatia, which was initiated by the Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia association (RES Croatia or OIEH) and financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The Action Plan for Renewable Energy Sources at Sea in Croatia is the first study with a comprehensive approach to all important segments for renewable energy sources at sea. It was prepared by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Zagreb, OIKON – Institute of Applied Ecology and the Island Movement.

RES Croatia said the action plan defines the locations at the Adriatic Sea suitable for the development of wind farms and floating photovoltaic plants, taking into account the protection of nature and the environment.

The potential of more than 25 GW in offshore wind farms has been identified in areas of reduced environmental impact, and it could turn Croatia into an important European player in renewables over the next decade, said Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD Director for Central Europe, and added that the country should use it as soon as possible.

Milatić: Wind power plants will not be installed on the islands

Ivo Milatić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, stressed that in the past two years energy approvals for an overall 2.5 GW of renewables have been issued, out of which 70% is solar.

He noted that Croatia decided a long time ago against building wind farms on its islands, but argued that the country can make great use of them at sea.

The study is the first step in a series of studies, discussions and initiatives that will ultimately result in the creation of a national maritime spatial plan as the main precondition for the implementation of renewable energy projects at sea, Milatić said.

croatia offshore wind potential 25 GW study
The study was presented in the Croatian State Archives (photo: RES Croatia)

Zoran Poljanec, project leader at OIKON, said the action plan suggests offshore wind power projects should be developed together with floating PV facilities and integrated with hydrogen production and marine farming.

Taking into account low- and medium-impact zones, the study identified areas of 29,000 square kilometers in total for renewables in the Adriatic Sea, of which 26,000 kilometers is in the central and southern part.

Poljanec stressed that because the depth is bigger there, development should be focused on floating wind and solar power projects.

Jurišić: Financial benefits are often the only one considered important

Maja Jurišić, president of the Island Movement, added that the main task is to include all the shareholders in the development of renewables in Croatia.

According to her, Croatia has the potential to use renewables onshore and offshore, but it should do it in a sustainable manner.

Apart from financial benefits, which are unfortunately often considered the only important factor, it is necessary to look at the wider impact of the investments and to include citizens, local communities and businesses that would be affected by them, Jurišić added.

Pokrovac: An opportunity for the growth of the national economy

croatia offshore wind potential 25 GW study Maja Pokrovac

Maja Pokrovac, managing director of RES Croatia, said an increase in renewable energy at sea can be used for growing the national economy. Numerous Croatian firms are already cooperating with the scientific and academic community in the areas of the production of equipment and electrical wiring for onshore renewable projects.

For example, the shipbuilding sector could begin to participate in the development of offshore power projects as Croatian shipyards have production capacities that can handle the construction of wind generators at sea.

Duić: The grid cannot accept large offshore electricity projects

According to Neven Duić, a professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Zagreb, the available capacity in the grid is not sufficient for large projects at sea, so it must be increased.

Currently, coastal network development is mainly based on single-purpose solutions for offshore power plants, while in the future there will be an increasing number of dual-purpose solutions enabling to connect them to multiple countries.

The initial phase of planning and development of offshore infrastructure depends on the developer’s plans, while the later phases of project planning should be taken over by the transmission system operator, Duić stressed.

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