A conference titled Days of Good Wind, organized by the Croatian Renewable Energy Sources (OIEH), which started yesterday and ends today in Vodice, has gathered around 200 participants from Croatia and around the world interested in the future of wind energy, with a special focus on the region of South East Europe. The conference is being held with the support of WindEurope and under the auspices of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy.
The conference was opened by Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Tomislav Ćorić, who said that the wind energy sector has managed the best among the renewables segments in Croatia. Maja Pokrovac, director at OIEH, said that for years Croatia has been at the bottom of the list of EU countries according to the global index measuring progress in the utilization of wind energy. However, this year the country is in the middle of the list.
The main topics of the first day of the conference were an overview of the current state of the wind energy sector in EU, the incentive systems and their results, and the premiums model.
Head of Advocacy & Messaging at WindEurope Viktoriya Kerelska said that the 36.4% target for renewables share in energy consumption until 2030 in Croatia’s Draft National Energy and Climate Plan Plan (NECP) for the period 2021-2030 is one of the most ambitious among the EU Member States.
The NECP will be crucial for new investments in wind energy, but it must clearly define how tenders for premiums are announced and how much funding is available.
Removing regulatory barriers to new business models, such as the Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPA) for renewables, will also be important for the development of the Croatian market, Kerelska said.
Marko Ćosić, a member of the board at Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP), said that the company’s development strategy is based on renewables. HEP plans to increase the installed capacity of production facilities by 1,500 MW by 2030, half of which will be solar power plants and half wind farms.
The implementation of the development strategy will increase renewables’ share in HEP’s production portfolio by 50% and increase production from 6 TWh to 9 TWh per year by 2030, Ćosić said.
How to adapt to increasingly stringent environmental requirements and changing market conditions
The second day of the conference began with an insight into trends in the sector, such as the corporate PPAs, which first started to apply in the ICT sector, with aluminum companies now leading the way.
Tony Iles, an expert in the implementation of environmental measures, said there are significant regional variations in the perception of environmental and social impacts.
In the UK, the visual and landscape impact has become a key issue in obtaining consent for the adoption of spatial plans for onshore wind farms, he said. Very few wind farms have received such consent in the last eight years, but this is the reason why the UK is now a world leader in the construction of offshore wind farms, located close to the coast.
On the other hand, Croatia has a successful tourist industry so the visual impact on the landscape could be a priority, Iles said.