Croatia’s renewable energy association calls for government support

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Biogas plants in Croatia are close to collapse, the Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia association (OIEH) has warned. Balkan Green Energy News reported that for more than a year, owners have been struggling to cope with the cost of raw materials - which have increased by up to 100%. From 1 January 2023, they have been affected by a price cap of €180 per MWh.
The OIEH is requesting support from the Croatian government, but assistance has not been forthcoming so far.
Biogas power plants in Croatia are estimated to produce 385,000 MWh per year, which is enough to power about 100,000 households. OIEH said they generate baseload electricity, unlike facilities that run on variable renewable sources.
According to the OIEH, the first issues appeared at the end of 2021, when operational costs surged.
Most biogas plants in the country had power purchase contracts with the Croatian Electricity Market Operator (HROTE), as it implied receiving feed-in tariffs with a fixed price of EUR 170 per MWh. It was not enough, so 23 biogas facilities with a total capacity of 27 MW decided to give up the incentives and sell electricity in the market, where the prices were several times higher.
23 power plants left the incentives system. It allowed them to cover the repayment of loans for the construction of the plants as well as the procurement of raw materials.
Maja Pokrovac, managing director of OIEH, said the association has been asking the government to adjust the feed-in tariff calculation and include a variable market-based share for a year - but without success.
Biogas facilities are in pain and they need a price of €280 per MWh to cover the costs, she added.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine further deepened the energy crisis and accelerated the rise in prices, so the European Union decided to introduce a cap of EUR 180 per MWh for power producers.
OIEH believes that biogas plants in Croatia have significantly higher costs than €180 per MWh. It proposed to the government to apply special measures like other EU member states to help them so that the security of supply and the sustainability of renewable energy production are maintained.
The EU’s decision enables a solution to be found for biogas power plants
Austria and Germany have decided that the limit won’t be applied to biogas power plants with a capacity lower than 1 MW while the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have introduced a higher price cap compared to other technologies.
According to OIEH, the EU’s price cap allows higher price limits to be introduced when investments and operating costs for energy production exceed €180 per MWh.
Pokrovac pointed out that EU countries understand biogas is important to them, and added that she doesn’t see why it is not understood in Croatia. Not all renewables are equal, and the state has to accept that the technologies are different, she asserted.
If Croatia leaves the price cap at €180 per MWh for biogas, it will destroy such power plants, Pokrovac said at the conference Energy 2023 – Security of Supply and Energy Prices, according to Balkan Green Energy News.

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