EBRD-Funded Report Calls for Action to Boost Offshore Renewable Energy Generation in Croatia

EBRD-Funded Report Calls for Action to Boost Offshore Renewable Energy Generation in Croatia

(IN BRIEF) A new report funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has been launched in Zagreb, Croatia, outlining the potential for offshore renewable energy generation in the Adriatic Sea. The report identifies over 29,000 km² of offshore area suitable for renewables, including offshore wind and floating photovoltaic power plants. The study recommends developing a national maritime spatial plan and designing an auction scheme to unlock Croatia’s offshore renewable energy potential. Croatia aims to increase domestic electricity generation from renewable sources, but investment is being hindered by lengthy permitting processes at both the local and national level.

(PRESS RELEASE) LONDON, 10-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD ), a multilateral developmental investment bank, announces that today in Zagreb, a new report entitled “Action Plan for the Uptake of Offshore Renewable Energy Sources in Croatia” was launched. Funded by the EBRD and coordinated by the Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia (RES Croatia) Association, the report identifies potential areas in the Adriatic Sea for renewable energy generation that could exceed Croatia’s current onshore renewable energy capacity and rival Europe’s offshore wind power capacity.

The report, authored by Croatian experts, highlights over 29,000 km² of offshore area available for renewables, which includes offshore wind, floating photovoltaic power plants, and both bottom-fixed and floating technology. The northern part of the Adriatic Sea offers several low-impact areas with potential for up to 25 GW of offshore wind capacity.

To unlock this potential, local and international experts discussed the necessary steps, including creating an enabling regulatory framework, at the report’s launch in Zagreb. The report suggests developing a national maritime spatial plan, beginning with low- and medium-impact areas, which are also included in Croatia’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), currently under review. The study recommends designing an auction scheme, appointing a single contact point for renewable energy developers, conducting further technical studies, and engaging with local stakeholders.

Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD Director for Central Europe, said: “The identified potential of up to 25 GW of offshore wind capacity in low-impact areas alone could turn Croatia into a major European player in the renewable energy sector over the next decade. At present, the total installed bottom-fixed offshore wind capacity in Europe is 30 GW. Croatia should tap into this potential as soon as possible to increase European energy security in the medium to long term. I thank all those who worked on this study for showcasing this incredible promise. Of course, a lot of stakeholder effort will be required to realise it, including further regulatory reforms, community engagement and investment. The EBRD, the largest enabler and financier of renewable energy in the region, stands ready to support Croatia with both technical cooperation and finance.”

Maja Pokrovac, CEO of Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia, said: “Increasing offshore RES can be used for the growth of the national economy. Numerous Croatian companies have already cooperated with the scientific and academic community in the field of production of equipment, installations and other components for onshore RES. In the future, the shipbuilding industry could be linked to the development of offshore renewables, because Croatian shipyards have production capacities that can support the construction and installation of wind turbines at sea. Further research and innovation are necessary in order for offshore RES to reach full momentum and efficiency with lower costs and reduced impact on the environment, We are proud that experts from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture of the University of Zagreb, OIKON Ltd. – the Institute for Applied Ecology and the Island Movement participated in the preparation of this study. As RES Croatia, we always emphasize that Croatia can achieve energy self-sufficiency, and megawatts of wind and photovoltaic offshore power plants can certainly contribute to this.”

The report also notes that Croatia’s 10-year plan to upgrade its electricity transmission system could allow for significant new offshore renewables capacity, as well as the plans of neighboring countries to develop their own offshore renewables. By implementing these recommendations, Croatia can realize its potential as a major player in offshore renewable energy generation.

The report highlights the ongoing evaluation of existing and outdated offshore gas fields by the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency for potential conversion to renewables. It also recommends exploring the possibility of converting the numerous shipyards, which were built before independence and have good infrastructure connections, into offshore renewable servicing hubs. Additionally, the report identifies further medium-impact areas that have significant potential of up to 32GW.

As Croatia relies on imports for nearly half of its energy requirements, it has set a goal to increase domestic electricity generation from renewable sources. The country’s total installed wind and solar energy capacity is currently 1.2 GW, and this figure rises to 4.9 GW when including hydropower and other sources. Despite the fact that renewable electricity is currently competitively priced in the market and state subsidies are not needed, investment is being hindered by prolonged permitting processes at both the local and national levels.

Although there is currently limited solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the country, there is a substantial pipeline of projects scheduled over the next decade. An upcoming draft law that permits the combined use of land for solar power and agricultural production may also provide additional solar opportunities. Furthermore, another EBRD-funded report on the potential of agri-solar in Croatia is expected to be published in the coming months, adding to the research released today.

To date, the EBRD has invested more than €4.4 billion in Croatia, with almost €300 million of that investment occurring in 2022.

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Email: press@ebrd.com



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