UPDATE 1 - Croatia eases regulations for renewable energy projects

ZAGREB (Croatia), September 4 (SeeNews) - The Croatian government on Thursday amended the country's tariff regulations on the development of projects using renewable energy sources (RES) in a bid to ease the process and adapt it to the current economic environment.

The adopted decision repeals the obligation of RES project holders in the country to submit bank guarantees to the Croatian energy market operator, HROTE, documents from the government's website showed.

The bank guarantees were provided in order to assure the implementation of RES projects within the timeframe agreed with the regulatory authorities.

As project holders are struggling to furnish bank guarantees in line with the terms defined under the current regulations, mostly because of the current economic and financial difficulties, the need to suspend this obligation arose in order to make it possible to continue with the development of RES projects that have reached a high degree of completion, the government said.

"This decision to seek bank guarantees was unnecessary to begin with because when a company invests a couple of million euro to develop the project and gets to the very end, then it's a bit redundant to ask from it to provide additional assurance along with all the other requests like certificates, quotas, etc," the country manager of the Croatian unit of Austrian privately-held power producer RP Global, Bojan Rescec, told SeeNews over the phone.

Rescec added that the government's Thursday decision is good news in his view, especially having in mind some previous regulatory moves that were not. The official cautioned, however, that frequent changes in RES regulations are not a good thing in principle.

"We always like to have a more stable system, to know what to expect in a year or two or three when developing a project, rather than to have the rules of the game changed every six months or so. In this case though, these projects would have otherwise be gone with the wind and this still gives them a chance," the official said.

The total installed capacity for renewable energy generation in Croatia amounted to 365.5 megawatts as of September 1, data of the country's energy market operator, HROTE, showed.

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