The Varaždin county in Croatia’s north could become energy independent with the production of power and heat from geothermal sources, as the first research results showed great potential.
A feasibility study conducted for exploration area Lunjkovec-Kutnjak in the north of Croatia confirmed the potential for the production of large amounts of electricity and heat. Such a plant could cover the entire needs of the Varaždin country and spur economic development, Večernji list reported.
The drillholes with water temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius are located in the Mali Bukovec municipality. The government issued the research license one year ago to a local firm called Bukotermal. The Varaždin Country holds 85% of ownership while the Municipality of Mali Bukovec controls the remainder.
The enterprise is tasked with using the geothermal sources for the production of electricity as well as for heating households and industry purposes, but the heating could also be used for greenhouses and the development of spa centers.
Possibilities for getting government, EU funds
The Varaždin County intends to submit the project for funding under the Sjever development program, worth a total of EUR 2 billion. The article adds the local authority also hopes to get financing from the European Union.
Bukotermal will build a geothermal power plant with a capacity of 1.5 MW to 2 MW in the first phase with the intention to complete it in 2025. The project is worth EUR 10 million, the Varaždin Country said and added the next step would be to install a 10 MW power plant.
The Lunjkovec-Kutnjak research area spans 100 square kilometers, and the boreholes are from 1976. and 1969. They are very near to the construction site of the AAT Geothermae geothermal heat and power plant in Draškovec.
Croatia only has one functional geothermal power plant
Vladislav Brkić, Dean of the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering in Zagreb, pointed out the oil industry has drilled more than 4,000 holes and wells for oil and gas and that some of them can be used to pump geothermal waters, but also to store hydrogen. He is also the president of the recently founded national geothermal energy association HUGE.
The government’s Hydrocarbon Agency (CHA) estimates the potential for electricity production from geothermal sources in Croatia at 500 MW. There is only one geothermal power plant in the country – Velika 1 in nearby Ciglena in the Bjelovar area. There are several other projects under development in Croatia.
Ensolx from Zagreb is currently looking for a partner company to develop and build the Merhatovec geothermal power plant in the Međimurje area, also not far from Draškovec and Mali Bukovec. The facility is envisaged to have a capacity of at least 10 MW.
According to some estimates, geothermal energy could cover the entire heating demand in Zagreb.