bneGREEN: Croatia has potential offshore wind capacity of up to 25 GW

bneGREEN: Croatia has potential offshore wind capacity of up to 25 GW
/ Andrew Martin via Pixabay
By Aida Kadyrzhanova in Almaty May 11, 2023

Croatia has a potential offshore wind capacity of up to 25 GW, a report funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says. 

The report suggests Croatia could “surpass its current onshore renewable energy capacity and rival Europe's entire offshore wind power capacity”.

Prepared by Croatian experts under the co-ordination of the Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia (RES Croatia) Association, the report identifies suitable areas in the Adriatic Sea for generating renewable energy.

Croatia possesses over 29,000 square kilometres of offshore area available for renewable energy projects, including offshore wind and floating photovoltaic (PV) power plants, the report says. The northern Adriatic Sea offers low-impact zones capable of supporting up to 25 GW of offshore wind capacity.

Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD director for Central Europe, highlighted the potential impact on Croatia, saying: “Croatia should seize this opportunity to enhance European energy security in the medium to long term. The EBRD is ready to support Croatia with technical co-operation and finance, but further regulatory reforms, community engagement and investment will be necessary."

"Expanding offshore renewable energy benefits Croatia's economy. Collaboration between Croatian companies and the scientific community has produced onshore renewable equipment. The shipbuilding industry has the capacity to support offshore wind turbine construction. However, more research and innovation are needed to optimise efficiency, reduce costs, and minimise environmental impact,” added Maja Pokrovac, CEO of RES Croatia.

The report also provides recommendations for optimal utilisation of Croatia's offshore renewable energy potential, including developing a national maritime spatial plan, integrating identified areas into the National Energy and Climate Plan, implementing an auction scheme, and engaging with local stakeholders. Repurposing existing offshore gas fields and shipyards is also suggested.

Croatia, currently reliant on energy imports, aims to increase domestic renewable electricity generation. As of today, with a current installed capacity of 1.2 GW from wind, solar and hydropower, its total renewable capacity has reached 4.9 GW. Cumbersome permitting processes hinder investments. 

The EBRD already provided a €43mn loan in August 2022 to Kunovac, a company jointly owned by Finnish Taaleri Energia's SolarWind II Funds and ENCRO Kunovac, for the construction of two wind farms in Croatia with 111 MW of total installed grid capacity. This was the EBRD’s first wind farm investment in Croatia.