Where does Croatia’s energy come from?

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Wind farm in Croatia
Image by Steel Guru

Only 50% of the energy that Croatia uses originates from its own sources. In reality, Croatia does not need to import energy as it has many natural sources that could be used instead such as solar, wind, water, gas, and others. For this reason, Croatia should, in fact, export energy and not depend on other countries.

Croatia depends on the import of gas and oil because its existing sources have been depleted. The country also imports 100% of the coal it uses.

Energy produced from renewable sources has increased in the last few years, with wind power plants becoming more widespread. The usage of all types of renewable energy sources, hydropower, motor gasoline, and wood has increased, while the usage of all other non-renewable energy sources decreased in 2018.

The government and the European Union often fund different programs to encourage renewable energy usage, which is covered later in this post. First we’ll go through all the different energies that Croatia uses and imports.

Energy consumption

In 2018, Croatian citizens consumed:

  • ~ 33 % of oil-based fuels
  • ~ 24 % of natural gas
  • ~ 16 % of hydro power
  • ~ 13 % of wood
  • ~ 5 % of coal and coke
  • ~ 4,7 % of electricity, which includes nuclear
  • ~ 4,2 % of renewables
  • ~ 0,2 % of heat

Energy production

In 2018, Croatia produced 13.631,7 GWh of energy, which was made up of:

  • ~ 30 % of hydro power
  • ~ 29 % of fuel wood
  • ~ 20 % of natural gas
  • ~ 14 % of crude oil
  • ~ 7 % of renewables
  • ~ 0,3 % of heat

Renewable sources include wind energy, solar energy, bio gas, liquid biofuels, and geothermal energy.

Energy imports

Croatia imports 50% of energy worth approximately 12 billion kuna, which includes:

  • 100% of coal
  • 80% of oil
  • 50% of gas
  • ~40% of electricity

In 2018, Croatia imported:

  • ~ 40 % of crude oil, from Russia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria
  • ~ 27 % of petroleum products, from Russia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria
  • ~ 17 % of natural gas, from Russia
  • ~ 8 % of electricity, from Hungary and Bosnia and Hercegovina
  • ~ 6 % of coal and coke, from Columbia
  • ~ 1 % of biomass

Oil and oil products

Croatian phrase: Nafta and naftni derivati

In Croatia, there are 38 oil fields that produce and process crude oil. Gas condensation is produced from 9 gas fields.

There are approximately 860 petrol stations in Croatia. Most of them are owned by INA. Approximately 74 petrol stations are placed on Croatian motorways.

Natural gas

Croatian phrase: Prirodni plin

Croatia has 18 natural gas exploitation fields in the Pannonian Basin or “Pannon”, which mostly covers Slavonija. Additional three exploitation areas are located in the Adriatic but only 37% belong to Croatia. The rest are owned by Italy.

Pannon produces 64% of the gas and most of it comes from the fields of Duboka Podravina and Međimurje (Molve, Kalinovac, Gola, Vučkovec, and Zebanec reservoirs).

Electricity

Croatian phrase: Električna energija

Croatia produces electricity at:

  • Hydro power plants – 17 locations
  • Thermal power plants – 7 locations
  • Wind power plants
  • Industrial power plants
  • Renewable energy source power plants

Croatia uses ½ of the capacities of the nuclear power plant Krško in Slovenia (Croatia is a co-owner of Krško). HEP is the major owner of the produced electricity in Croatia. Private energy producers mostly generate renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

Krško nuclear power plant
Image by Radio Aktivni Otpad

Heat

Croatian phrase: Toplinska energija

Eleven companies within Croatia produce, distribute and supply heat. These companies also provide space heating and hot water. Heat is produced in cogeneration plants, heating plants, and block and boiler houses.

Heat is available in 16 towns among Croatia: Varaždin, Zagreb, Zaprešić, Samobor, Velika Gorica, Virovitica, Sisak, Požega, Slavonski Brod, Osijek, Vinkovci, Vukovar, Rijeka, Ogulin, Karlovac, and Topusko.

Coal

Croatian phrase: Ugljen

Croatia imports 100% of the coal. Brown coal and lignite are imported from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, and Hungary. Koks (coke) is imported from Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Hard coal is imported from the international market and comes from the Russian Federation, USA, and Columbia.

Renewable energy sources

Croatian phrase: Obnovljivi izvori energije

Croatia uses 6 types of renewable energy sources:

  • Sunce – solar power plants
  • Vjetar – wind power plants
  • Biomasa – biomass power plants
  • Bioplin – bio gas power plants
  • Male hidroelektrane – small hydro power plants
  • Geotermalna – geothermal power plants

As a member of the European Union, Croatia is required to use at least 20% of renewable energy sources in 2020. In 2018, Croatia produced 16,2% of its energy from renewable sources.

Croatia’s strategy for 2020 is to reduce the usage of electrical energy for thermal purposes (heating, water heating) and increase the usage of renewables like wind and solar power. Another goal is to install 0,225 square meters of solar panels per capita in 2020, primarily in camps and small tourist facilities.

Getting funding for renewable energy projects

Over the last 15 years, almost all renewable energy in Croatia has been produced by the private sector. Fond za zaštitu okoliša i energetsku učinkovitost – FZOEU (Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund) co-finances the procurement of renewable energy systems. This is done through different renewable energy programs for families and households, multi-residential and non-residential buildings.

FZOEU also offers funds to companies, organizations and citizens for financing sustainable programs, projects, and other activities through loans without fees, subsidies, and donations.

You can track the latest open fund applications on the web site for Nacionalni javni pozivi i natječaji.

You can also track EU open invitations and tenders to see if there is an open application from the side of the European Union.

Sources for this article

All data in this article was sourced from the latest reports from the Croatian government on energy usage, which reflect data from 2018. The reports for 2019 will not be released until December 2019, at which time we will update this post.

If you are interested in more details on the production and consumption of energy in Croatia, take a look at the Croatian Ministry of Environment and Energy’s Annual energy report Energy in Croatia.

If you are interested in environmental protection, take a look at the Zelena akcija’s webpage. Zelena akcija is the most influential non-governmental, non-profit, and voluntary association for environmental protection in Croatia.

Most of the statistics in this article were taken from the annual report of the Croatian Ministry of Environment and Energy (Annual energy report – Energy in Croatia 2018).

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4 thoughts on “Where does Croatia’s energy come from?

  1. Patricia Jacobs
    February 14, 2020 @ 9:23 pm

    Very interesting article. Saw the wind turbines on my drive to Krka National Park. And the hydro electric plant at the falls.

    {reply}

  2. Eddie White
    February 14, 2020 @ 11:23 pm

    About to ‘styrofoam clad’ our house in Bibinje as a means of reducing our energy consumption. We looked into the possibility of grants. Nothing.

    {reply}

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