Solar energy can support tourism in Croatia

Croatia turns to solar energy, providing energy sustainability for the tourism business

Croatia’s main business sector is tourism. Since it is one of the European “sunny countries” Croatia can have double the benefit of implementing solar energy into the tourism business.

In Croatia, renewable energy sources make up about 28.5% of the total energy supply. The overall energy consumption – 80% of Croatia’s oil needs, 67% of its gas needs, 32.5% of its power needs, and 100% of its coal needs – are imported. That makes up around 52.9% of the country’s overall energy consumption. Through increased utilization of renewable resources, the nation has an enormous opportunity to reduce its reliance on imported energy.

Now, renewable energy is considered an industry sector that has the best future potential for this country.  Croatia’s gross primary energy use in 2020 was 9.02 Terrawatt hours (TWh). The country’s final energy consumption was 7.52 TWh. This is the data from the European statistic organization Eurostat.

Energy strategy for the period until 2030

The Croatian government in February 2020 established a new Energy Strategy for the period until 2030 with goals through 2050. They include numerous energy policy efforts that will increase energy security in the Strategy. More energy efficiency, less reliance on fossil fuels, increased local production, and increased use of renewable resources are the major goals of the strategy.

According to the Strategy, they expect the proportion of renewable energy sources in total energy consumption to increase to 36.4% in 2030 and 65.6% in 2050. In order to link at least 800 MW of renewable energy sources by 2026 and 2,500 MW by 2030, the government plans to invest around $1.4 billion in grid upgrades.

As European countries try to wean themselves off of Russian energy, energy prices have gone up across the continent as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Croatia, which is a member of the EU, intends to produce the majority of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Despite having a coastline that receives 2,700 hours of sunlight annually, just 0.5% of the country’s electricity is now produced by solar energy plants.

This year, the government’s environment fund made a public appeal to individuals, proprietors of businesses, and publicly traded corporations to request financial assistance for the installation of renewable energy sources for their personal use. According to the government’s energy policy, this was done.

All by EU standards

Croatia’s energy policy and regulatory structure are completely in line with EU standards. In order to create a smart grid that would allow small-scale units run by homes or companies to sell their excess electricity to the grid using a sustainable business model, the government modified the legislative framework in 2019.

While the average power price in the EU is 0.1515 euros per kWh, home consumers paid 0.1022 euros per kWh in 2021. In 2021, it was 0.0998 euros per kWh for non-households, compared to an EU average of 0.1032 euros. Among the EU nations, Croatia has one of the lowest per-kWh electricity prices.

Croatia has great potential for solar energy

According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Croatia has a lot of potential for using distributed energy resources (DERs) to produce solar energy.

With 3.4 to 5.2 kWh/m2/day, Croatia has some of the highest solar radiation in Europe, but it also has some of the lowest photovoltaic capacity per person (12 Wp), which is lower than Sweden and 40 times lower than Germany.

The greatest opportunity is along Croatia’s shore, which is overrun by summer tourists who put a strain on the region’s infrastructure (in 2021, despite the pandemic, 13.8 million foreign tourists visited Croatia – a country of 4 million inhabitants).

The seven essential technologies listed below, according to BCG, are required to support the growth of DER in Croatia:

  • Battery Storage that captures electricity for use later
  • PV panels that use photovoltaic technology to turn sunlight into power
  • Combined heat and power plants using a range of fuels
  • Energy efficiency is a strategy for controlling and slowing the rate of increase in energy usage.
  • Environmental Management System/Voluntary Protection Program (EMS/VPP): A digital ecosystem of tools, programs, and services for keeping track of and regulating the flow of energy
  • Services that help better balance electricity demand and supply are known as demand response
  • Technologies that help integrate DER into the grid include those for grid integration and grid enhancement.

Solar energy in practice

High electricity costs have compelled the majority of hotels along Croatia’s Adriatic coast to close before the winter season. Makarska, a Dalmatian port city, is now creating plans to become energy-sustainable by utilizing solar energy sources.

The mayor thinks that the energy crisis is a chance to speed up their plan for sustainable development. The plan for introducing solar energy, according to the city council supposed to be implemented in the next 10-15 years.

Tourism officials anticipate the doubled electricity bill may put the 2023 tourist season in jeopardy.

The tourism sector, which is still feeling the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, contributes 20% of Croatia’s GDP.

Tourist places started the implementation of this approach towards solar energy with the goal of making tourist resorts independent by 2030. The higher price of electricity needs finding alternatives.

Thus, the vast majority of the hotels and resorts in Croatia were shut down last month. The capital saved by this step in value of approximately $27.3 million will be used for energy efficiency, green building, and the usage of renewable energy sources, mainly solar energy.