October 1, 2008

Croatia’s Energy Strategy Behind Schedule, Nuclear Energy Treated As Last Resort

Text of report by Bosnian edition of Croatian daily Vecernji list, on 27 September

[Article by Zdravko Cesar: "Energy: The Long-Awaited Energy Strategy Is Behind Schedule - There Will Be No Nuclear Power Plant Before 2030"]

The long-awaited energy strategy, the foundations of which were laid by Deputy Prime Minister Damir Polancec, is most certainly behind schedule. It may easily be sent back to the proposers to be completed, which will result in even more tardiness, which means that the public debate may be postponed for winter time, provided everything is all right.

Strategic Goals

The strategic goals are, in part, determined by the goals set by the EU to reduce dependency on Russian energy sources and the influence of harmful emissions on the atmosphere. Those are also the Croatian orientations, which require diversification of energy supply, which applies to all energy sources, as well as new Croatian sources, in which 10 billion euros is supposed to be invested by the year 2020, 4.5 billion euros of which is supposed to be invested in the power supply and distribution system.

At present, Croatia has about 4,000 MW installed power, and by the year 2020 about 3,500 more MW should be built.

Where do we find them? About 300 MW should be obtained from new hydroelectric power plants and 300 more MW from cogeneration, and the future "Slavonian" electric power plant running on natural gas should produce about 400 MW. The rest should be found in the 1,520 MW that the new Croatian wind power plants and solar collectors should contain by the year 2020! At present, we only have two wind parks.

Numerous Dilemmas

The Ministry of Economy has received numerous applications for the construction of wind parks, but the question is whether the coast will simply be overflowed by them. There remains a series of other questions that strategy will most certainly not answer.

Will Croatia manage to connect to South Stream, the gas pipeline of exceptional importance for this region, and will it manage to agree on increased quantities of gas with Gazprom?

Finally, is the possible Croatian nuclear power plant the last resort if, despite all the good wishes, the energy future project does not fully come through? It was left as the last resort, but will it be too late for that?

Originally published by Vecernji list (Bosnia-Hercegovina edition), Zagreb, in Croatian 27 Sep 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring European. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.