Energostatik and KPA Unicon have signed a contract on the supply of Unicon Altius 5 MWe biomass power plant to Grubišno Polje in Croatia. The plant will generate electricity to the local power grid and heat to the nearby wood drying facility, via a 14-year offtake agreement. The new power plant will use wood biomass and will be handed over to the customer in the fall of 2018. The developer of the project is a French company Akuo Energy.
KPA Unicon delivers the power plant on an EPC turn-key contract basis. The scope of supply includes design, civil engineering and foundation works, building, steel structures, all main and process equipment, installation work, commissioning and training of the personal.
The contract also includes a high-tech PlantSys system which enables remote support, operation and monitoring of the plant. The parties have also agreed on a 14-year operation and maintenance contract.
The plant design is based on KPA Unicon’s Biograte combustion technology.
“The developer Akuo Energy opted for KPA Unicon’s customer-oriented approach and standardized combustion technology solution. Akuo Energy also wanted us to take responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the plant. We are very pleased about the trust demonstrated by Akuo Energy, and in this project we see a number of goals in line with our international strategy”, says Kari Liukko, Energy Business Director of KPA Unicon.
Energostatik enjoys both a 14-year PPA with HEP, the national power company and a 14-year biomass supply contract signed with Hrvatske šume, the Croatian forest agency, for the supply of 46,000t per year, i.e 91% of the power plant needs.
“As a project developer, it was crucial to Akuo Energy to choose an EPC partner who can support project development with economical technology, efficient plant performance and project delivery capabilities. We value KPA Unicon’s customer-oriented solution and way of working. In addition to the plant delivery, we wanted to ensure long term operation of the plant by using KPA Unicon ́s operation and maintenance capabilities”, says Emil Bakic, director of Akuo Energy MED.
The power plant construction has been ongoing since December 2016. Laying of the foundation stone was celebrated in Grubišno Polje on May 19, 2017 in the presence of representatives of the central and local governments as well as the Finnish Embassy.
At the ceremony, KPA Unicon was represented by Pekka Kovanen, Chairman of the Board, and Arttu Laitinen, Key Account Manager of KPA Unicon.
Dispute over biomass still ongoing
Three months ago the Drvni centar (Wood Center) in the Croatian town of Glina commissioned a new cogeneration plant (CHP) as a part of its wood processing plant. The new power facility has a capacity of 5 MW of electric and 12 MW of heat energy and will help expand the company’s wood drying facilities.
There is ongoing debate in Croatia if there is lack of wood biomass for the renewable fuel facilities. Kresimir Pecar, mechanical engineer, stated that Croatia has exhausted its quota for subsidising co-generation heating plants (CHP) in the forest biomass all the way to 2020.
He went on to criticise the whole subsidy system, for which he said was “pulling out” subsidies out of the woods to simulate profitability of the renewables.
The problem is, both the subsidies and the new jobs are created using taxpayers’ money.
The Croatian Biomass Association (CROBIOM) and the Croatian Wood Cluster (HDK) said that biomass is produced in sufficient quantities, it is even exported as a result of higher prices offered across the border.
Woodchips and other biomass products are being used in power plants in Slovenia, and biomass is exported to Austria and Hungary.
The sector has a potential to create another 5,000 direct jobs, as well as another 50,000 indirect jobs in the coming years.