September 19, 2008

Croatia to Invest 10 Billion Euros in Power Industry By 2020

Text of report by Bosnian edition of Croatian daily Vecernji list, on 17 September

[Report by "Z. C.": "Economic Strategy: Croatian Economic Forum Dedicated to Energy - Ten Billion Euros Will Be Invested in Power Industry"]

At present, the energy sector is certainly the most important part of the Croatian economy. Investment in the sector by the year 2020 has been estimated at 10 billion euros, about 4.5 billion of which will be invested in power supply and distribution system alone.

This is the reason it is precisely the energy sector that should be the moving force of growth of the Croatian economy and the GDP in the following period. This was emphasized by Damir Polancec, deputy prime minister, at the economic forum on power industry [that was held] at the Zagreb Fairgrounds.

He announced that the so-called green book would be presented to the public in two to three weeks. The book is supposed to represent the foundations of Croatia's future energy strategy in the period up to the year 2020. The deputy prime minister also presented figures on import dependence - at present, Croatia imports about 50 per cent energy sources, about 23 per cent electric power, about 40 per cent natural gas, and about 80 per cent oil.

The draft strategy is also supposed to work out several scenarios of power supply and distribution development, since renewable sources are also envisaged to make a big contribution. Many people are sceptical, Polancec said, but, by the year 2020, Croatia should have 1,520 MW of power precisely in renewable sources. However, we are still short by about 400 MW, and the strategy should provide answers to the questions of where and how they should be obtained.

At any rate, no source will be ruled out in the future. The deputy prime minister reiterated that this year there would be no increases in the price of natural gas for households, adding that he believed that there would be no increases in the price of electricity this year or the next.

On the other hand, the fact is that Ina [Croatian oil industry] is purchasing Russian gas at 2.27 kuna per cubic meter, only to sell it for 1.37 kuna on the Croatian market. Such discrepancy in price should be corrected in the future, but it will be done gradually, Polancec said.

Originally published by Vecernji list (Bosnia-Hercegovina edition), Zagreb, in Croatian 17 Sep 08.

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