Croatia: The Rising Wind Hub in Southeast Europe
With Croatia’s entrance into the EU, its energy production will need to adjust to the European 20-20-20 energy strategy by 2020, which is the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% through the use of 20% renewable energy sources improving EU’s energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. Analysing the development of the wind power industry, it is evident that the process of developing renewable energy sources has begun in Croatia. While the countries in the region (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro) are in the process of opening their first wind power plants, Croatia is the only country in the South Eastern Europe region with wind farms in operation for a total capacity of 130 MW. According to the Wind Power Monthly, Croatia is ranked first in Europe in the percentage of installed wind power plants in the first half of 2012. At the beginning of the year, Croatia had 89 MW of wind power installed and in July that figure reached 130 MW or an increase of 46%. Of course, these figures are for a specific energy sector in the early stages of development. In May 2012, the Ministry of Economy implemented 2 by-laws regulating wind power plants and announced adjustments to the renewable energy pricing system for 2013. These regulations allow for the purchase of generated energy during the experimental stage of operations and extend the period of state incentives for wind power from 12 to 14 years, increasing the profitability of wind power in Croatia. Presently, 8 wind power farms are operating in Croatia. The objective is to generate 1,200 MW of wind power by 2020. An additional 34MW of wind power is expected by the end of 2012, with 199 MW of power operational by 2013 with a total investment valued at €287 million.