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Croatia’s new renewables bill a game-changer – investor

Author: RP Global. License: All rights reserved.

ZAGREB (Croatia), September 7 (SeeNews) – The new bill on renewable energy sources (RES) adopted by the government in Zagreb will lead to important regulatory changes, resulting in a comprehensive reshuffle of rules in this field, the country manager for Croatia of Austrian privately-held power producer RP Global said.

The bill on renewable energy sources and high-efficient cogeneration was adopted by the government in Zagreb last week in a bid to unify and harmonize regulations in the RES sector in order to boost the production and use of renewable energy in the country as well as to fully align domestic rules to EU law, among other goals.

The bill provides the regulatory framework to plan and incentivize the development of the production of electricity produced at plants using renewable energy sources and high-efficient cogeneration while offering greater security to RES investors, the government has said.

“I believe that the new regulations were drafted in cooperation with experienced professionals, who went through all the available options and proposed the best solutions within the new bill,” Bojan Rescec said in an emailed response to a SeeNews inquiry.

Rescec added that having in mind the circumstances, he does not see at the moment better solutions for the RES sector than the ones contained in the new bill.

Among the most significant changes that the new bill would usher in, Rescec singled out two important competitive procedures that all the potential investors will have to go through before investing in RES projects – to obtain land lease agreements, either easement or building rights, and for ‘market premium’, as well as the introduction of an eco-balance group.

However, Rescec cautioned that, although the bill is a step in the right direction, it remains to be seen whether it will be implemented properly as a number of key bylaws need to be adopted in order for the new framework to be fully effective.

Talking about Croatia as a destination for RES investments, the official said that the signals that the government in Zagreb has been sending over the past three years were somewhat conflicting when it came to their vision for the future of renewables.

“The adoption of the new regulations is a significant and necessary milestone in that sense. Whether it is good or bad, the actual implementation of the bill will show. I believe and hope that it will prove to be good, but that it will readily adapt to any potential external changes in EU legislation if that becomes necessary, as nowadays we are witnessing frequent and significant changes in RES regulations in Europe,” Rescec said.

The situation in the wider region of Southeast Europe is no better than in Croatia and RP Global has been investing during the past few months in Chile, Peru and Georgia, creating a counterbalance for its European projects, although the company would gladly invest more in Croatia if that turns out to be profitable, the official said.

RP Global Group hopes it will be able to commission by November its 34.2 MW Rudine wind park near the Adriatic town of Dubrovnik. Rudine is the second wind project developed by RP Global in Croatia. RP Global's first facility there – the 43.7 MW Danilo wind farm, near Sibenik, was commissioned in 2014.

The total installed capacity for renewable energy generation in Croatia amounted to 365.5 MW as of September 1, 2014, data of Croatia's energy market operator, HROTE, showed. Wind had the biggest share in the country's installed renewable energy generation capacity with 297.3 MW, followed by solar with 30.1 MW and high-efficiency cogeneration plants with 13.3 MW.

Croatia targets a minimum share of renewable energy sources in total final energy consumption of 20% by 2020.

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