Croatia is due to become the 28th Member State of the EU on 1 July 2013; however as ManagEnergy reports, Croatian involvement in EU energy policy began long before.
In October 2005, the EU and nine countries of South-East Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo-UNMIK and Romania) signed the Energy Community Treaty, which aims to create the legal framework for an integrated European market for electricity and gas. Moldova and Ukraine also applied to join. The Energy Community Treaty calls on the South-East European countries to create a regional energy market designed to fit into the framework of the EU’s Internal Energy Market. This means that the relevant acquis communautaire on energy, environment and competition will be implemented in the Balkan peninsula as well. This will enhance market opening, investment guarantees and firm regulatory control of the energy sectors. This treaty is the first legally binding agreement signed by the South-East European states and territories since the wars of the 1990s.
Croatia’s first regional energy agency was established in 2008, with mentoring provided by a UK SAVE agency. Croatian experts have been participating in the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme as evaluators since 2004. Croatia was the first country from the Western Balkans region to join the EU programme on renewable energy which opened the door for Croatian participation in the Intelligent Energy Europe programme as partners and more recently, even as coordinators of successful project proposals. This introduced co-financing for many sustainable large-scale energy projects in Croatia, and supported the founding of local or regional energy management agencies in sectors such as building, industry, transport, urban areas, consumer products, power and heat generation, and cooperation with developing countries.
At the local level, Croatian projects were acknowledged in the ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award in 2011, and also in the European Solar Prize Award in 2012. Solar power has since become an important component of Croatia’s energy policy mix. The potential of solar energy is more widely understood and has strengthened the region’s economic vitality. At first applied at the local level only, the program has been taken on throughout Croatia now.
Today, Croatian regions and energy agencies are working together with their colleagues to enable Europe to face the energy supply challenges of the future and the effects these will have on growth and the environment. Together is the main message of an event to be held on 22 January 2013 at the Croatian Chamber of Economy in Brussels.
At this event, best practice by some of the most renowned European energy agencies will be showcased (Severn Wye Energy Agency, O.Ö. Energiesparverband, Berlin Energy Agency) while the Croatian counterpart will feature successful projects represented by the Croatian capital City of Zagreb and three Counties (Karlovac, Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb County).
Certainly many steps remain to be taken before Croatian regions and energy agencies will reach the level of their European partners.
However, the vision, enthusiasm and even some results are already there.
Participation on the event is free of charge. Please note that this event has a limited capacity and registration is mandatory.
Send your registration details (name, organization, contacts) via e-mail to Ms Dina Studen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For all additional information regarding the event please contact the organizer:
North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency
Ms Tina Opalić, Head of Organising Committee
Tel.: +385 91/3885-326