Solar power plant for the beginning of the energy transition

Jun 17, 2015

PHOTO: UNDP CROATIA


Solar power plant installed on the roof of the Ostrog Primary School in Kastel Luksic financed by citizens and cooperatives is the first real indicator of energy transition in Croatia 

In the mid-70s, students, teachers and workers built the first wind turbine in a small Danish village Tvind. They did it with their money and for their school. 

The turbine, which still stands in the same place and produces electricity for the nearby school, soon became status symbol, not only as a demonstration of energy independence, but also as an example of harmony among the local community. At that time, the construction of turbine meant a clear protest against the expansion of nuclear energy. 

Coincidentally or not, since then, there is ongoing energy transition in Denmark towards the wider use of renewable energy owned mostly by citizens, farmers and cooperatives. 

Today, over three quarters of all wind energy capacity is in their ownership. At the same time, it is unthinkable to build a nuclear power plant, although in the seventies electricity generated in that way was considerably cheaper than the wind energy.

But times have changed, the wind on the open market "blew away" the competition and, taking all costs into account, become the cheapest form of electricity production. 

These days, in Croatia on the roof of the Ostrog Primary School in Kastel Luksic was installed a solar power plant that will produce electricity for the school. The investment is secured through crowdfunding, and on the initiative of local Energy cooperatives Kastela and UNDP Croatia*. 

This is the first time that one school will be able to produce energy for all its needs from renewable energy sources, and therefore become an energy independent school.
This project is being realized at a time of great uncertainty about the future use and development of renewable energy sources in Croatia, since their development is stopped by the introduction of quotas. 

At the same time, experts suggest that by 2020 is possible to implement up to 500MW capacity of solar power (which is about one-eighth of today's installed capacity) in renewable energy sources. 

A small power plant built and financed by the local community had once a positive effect on the development of social energy in Denmark. The time has come that one such power plant initiate changes and a long-awaited energy transition in our country.

 

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* In 2012, UNDP Croatia in a collaboration with a number of partners launched a project to promote social energy and development of energy co-operatives in Croatia. Within the project, a number of energy cooperatives were funded that are still active. UNDP currently promotes and encourages the development of social energy through participation in European projects CitizenEnergy and WISE Power.