The crash of Croatian energy policy, the case of PV projects: What will EU bring new to HEP?

22. January 2013. / SEE Energy News

Croatian government rule book for acquiring status of privileged electricity producer for photovoltaic plants accelerated procedure first, and then hundreds of companies which hoped doing business with this energy part were left without job at the beginning of the year.

Long awaited energy orientation of the new government that thousands work places should be opened 01.01.2013 was a complete failure, on the contrary hundreds of newly opened companies lost its job. As the regulator official site of HROTE said, planned quota for 2013 of 15MW is completed before the year started. All requests will be turned to those who sent them.

How did the problem occur?

We must go back to bare idea of energy development. It was dead silence about energy development for a very long time. Croatia started to talk about it when EU gave condition to have 20% of energy from renewable sources until 2020. Croatia behavior is completely normal, considering the fact that country has mostly been turning off producing facilities in last 20 years what resulted with power release for other consumers who didn’t grow according to some annual rate on one side, and it didn’t worth to begin construction of facilities that have more expensive KWH, on the other side. Bigger part of water energy potential has already been used a long time ago, HPP amortized and KWH production level is relatively low. Croatia get the rest of produced electricity from TPPs and part of nuclear power plant Krsko. During the good hydrology year, HEP’s people happily rub their hands, and when the production of own plants is bad then difference is being compensated with expensive import.

If we know that HEP is state-owned firm which was used for coverage of party, sport, state and other needs among many other things, it is clear that there is no time to speak about capacity increase on all voltage levels and development and renewal of old facilities.

It is completely clear why the demand for photovoltaic cells installation occurred now, the answer is in the fact that last changes of status acquisition procedure decreased the time of whole operation to bearable 60 to 100days and on really acceptable buyout prices with return period of 4 to 5 years.

What does all of that worth when firstly determined quota of 10MW was changed to 15MW for integrated solar plants (those on houses) and spent in one month? Did the Serbian government imagine energy development and opening new places this way? Politicians constantly underline that their job is making developmental conditions, and we are never sure what kind of conditions they think. This or previous government tried to ask expert people what should be done to increase it to amount which would guarantee development. That is the fact that planned quota for Croatia fits in region TLM in Sibenik on objects’ roofs.

The solution to the problem

Taking all of this into account, the only way to avoid complete fiasco is urgent making of the rule book about changing ways of quotas’ determination so not to limit small solar power plants to 10KWH limit with quotas, and the rest which are stronger being valued with bigger quotas. This will have for consequence that a lot of projectors will be employed in small plants and incomes will stay mostly in small households in Croatia. It is also more affordable to have a lot of small dislocated sources than several big sources. Increase of total installed power will cause pressure on HEP to finally start investing in its distribution and transmission network what will have as a consequence final investments attracting.

If this doesn’t happen, new dissatisfaction of all of those who opened companies motivated with statements from government to turn to energy sector will occur, and many households, especially those in Dalmatia, will be left without electricity production incomes.

Source Serbia Energy Magazine

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