Realization of two hydropower megaprojects in Croatia is in progress

29.Nov 2020.

The development of the Senj 2 hydropower system project has been going on for decades, with interruptions, and only the current management of the Croatian Electric Power Industry (HEP) has made investment decisions for both segments of the project and started the investment, writes Večernji list.

This year, HEP initiated the implementation of the second phase of the Senj hydropower system, which consists of two segments: the construction of the Kosinj Hydropower System and the Senj 2 Hydropower Plant, with a total capacity of 412 MW. The project is one of the largest in modern Croatia. The investment is worth as much as 3.4 billion kuna.

The necessary part of the work includes documentation that is started years before the beginning of the works, and will last in parallel during the following years as the project develops. Despite the distrust of the locals, the leaders of HEP say that there is no going back now.

Positive decisions were obtained on the acceptability of both interventions for the environment and the environmental network, location permits, in 2019 for HES Kosinja, and in 2020 for HPP Senj 2, they explained in HEP.

A project that includes the construction of two large facilities, Kosinj hydropower system and Senj 2 hydroelectric power plant, tunnels, new roads, which includes flooding the village, payment of compensation to all residents, construction of a residential building, but also displacement of all cultural and other assets from the area to be flooded, local churches and even five cemeteries, can no longer stop.

“The meaning and purpose of this project is multiple. With it, HEP intends to use the remaining hydro potential in the Lika and Gacka river basins. The existing Senj hydropower system was built in the period from 1959 to 1966. Today, HES Senj has an average annual production of about a billion kilowatts. The energy produced in HES Senj in the average hydrological year accounts for about 20 percent of electricity production from HEP’s hydropower plants, about 10 percent of HEP’s total production and covers about five percent of total electricity consumption in Croatia, “HEP said.

They state that the avoided CO2 emission, thanks to the produced amount of hydropower, amounts to about 900,000 tons per year. However, the construction of the second phase facilities, HES Kosinj and HPP Senj 2, will enable additional production of as much as 320 million kilowatt-hours per year.

The total power of the system will increase to more than 650 megawatts, which is more than the power of the largest hydroelectric power plant in Croatia – HPP Zakučac.

It is estimated that, thanks to this complex combination of power and hydro facilities, HEP and the Croatian power system will benefit from the electricity produced, and Croatia will further increase the share of energy production from renewable sources.