Croatia investing in storage amid slow solar development

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IE Energy, a Croatia-based energy storage operator, is set to build a 50 MW storage project, after securing €19.8 million from the Croatian government via state aid from the European Commission. The package will help the company to partly finance the procurement and installation of grid-scale batteries, in order to provide transmission system operators with grid-balancing services.

The firm intends to build the battery system near Šibenik in Dalmatia.

“IE Energy said it would boost the 50 MW system to 110 MW by 2024. There is no storage facility in southeastern Europe yet with such a capacity,” Attaurrahman Ojindaram Saibasan, a power analyst at GlobalData, told pv magazine. “There is immense scope for energy storage in Croatia, predominantly for battery storage.”

GlobalData says that Croatia is now on target to meet its 36.4% renewable energy target by 2030. However, its recent investment in energy storage has not been accompanied by rapid solar PV development. The country might only add 2.5 MW of new solar capacity in 2022, and another 19 MW next year, according to the consulting firm.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that Croatia had 309 MW of installed PV capacity at the end of 2021. GlobalData expects the country to reach 770 MW of cumulative solar capacity by 2030.

“Croatia’s largest state-owned power company HEP has announced plans to invest around $23 million annually until 2023 to install new capacity of 20 MW per year, as well as to complete 350 MW capacity by 2030,” said Saibasan.

Floating solar might be another promising avenue for the country, where space for ground-mounted large-scale PV projects is limited, according to Saibasan.

“Croatia may look to install floating solar PV plants in the Adriatic Sea to avoid land utilization by utility-scale solar PV projects,” he said.

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