In order to activate the significant geothermal potential in the Republic of Croatia (60% higher gradient than the European average), but also to reduce the risk of future geothermal energy projects, which are still a major risk for investors at EU level due to the high cost of initial investments, the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency has initiated amendments to the Act on the Establishment of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency.
In accordance with the new amendments to the Act on the Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons, the Agency can drill new wells in estimated areas with geothermal potential and initiate the spatial procedure for a proposed exploitation field which is not within the planned within the spatial plans.
Following the approved amendments, we have nominated six areas of interest to be included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). All areas are suitable for the use of geothermal waters for heating purposes, and sites are recognised based on geological potential and the vicinity of the towns with an existing central heating network. Using EU funds, the Agency (in the state interest) can significantly reduce the geological risk by drilling new wells in estimated areas of geothermal potential and eliminate a large share of CAPEX. The project prepared in such a manner can be offered to the future investor for further development. The value of approved projects is EUR 30 million.
The NRRP project will provide:
- Strategic environmental impact assessment study
- Acquiring new geophysical data
- Drilling two geothermal wells
- Geological and geophysical study of each area
- Spatial plan status
In the coming period, in cooperation with local communities, with an amended legal framework and greater use of the EU funds at our disposal, we will strive to transform geothermal potential into a resource that not only enables greater (renewable) energy security, but also offers an opportunity for a new direction for a competitive agricultural policy – a strategy that relies exclusively on indigenous natural resources, both in agriculture and energy.
By joining the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) in 2022, the Agency moved from the promotion phase to the operational implementation phase of geothermal projects in district heating. This is important for the further promotion of geothermal energy usage in energy mix focused on renewable sources.