11th INTERNATIONAL WOOD ENERGY CONFERENCE / “Croatia is a large producer, but a weak consumer of biomass”

Friday, 16 April 2021 / Published in Activities, Events & Networking, Press Releases

This year’s 11th International Energy Conference on Biomass and Renewable Energy Sources was held today at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb and via Zoom platform. The main goal was to bring together representatives of the wood processing sector, experts and the academic community to assess the progress of the biomass position in the Republic of Croatia and discuss the much-needed acceleration of the energy transition and achieving a low-carbon economy.

Highlights from welcome speeches, panel discussions and presentations:

Dr. Christian Rakos, President of the World Bioenergy Association
“Political support is needed to promote local biomass consumption. The Republic of Croatia is an important producer, but at the same time it is a weak consumer of biomass and, in order to change that, the intervention of institutions is needed. The WBA is committed to promoting bioenergy globally, and it now has a 70 percent share within the statistics on the use of renewable energy sources. Bioenergy plays an important role now, but I believe it will play an even greater role in the future, in line with efforts to decarbonise our energy system. In the next 30 years, we want to achieve zero net carbon emissions in Europe and this is a very ambitious but also positive goal, which will allow us to rely on our own energy sources and to start the circular economy, jobs and employment. “

Velimir Šegon, Deputy Director of REGEA
“The topic of biomass has been very important to us from the beginning. We had numerous projects related to biomass, such as the project Municipality of Pokupsko where the first Croatian municipal biomass heating plant was built, but also a number of projects selling biomass heat in schools in Karlovac County, a dozen European projects… Energy use of biomass is definitely something that should have a future. We are convinced that biomass projects will continue to be important and successful. “

Marijana Petir, President of the Committee on Agriculture
“The strategy for the development of agriculture, which is now in e-consulting, plans to support the development and launch of agricultural holdings in rural areas, and special emphasis is placed on small and young farmers through planned investments in renewable energy sources, which should effect increaseing of agriculture at the level of the European union. There is still ongoing agreement on a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) framework that will bring Croatia 5 billion euros in financial resources, and the Portuguese Presidency announced the possibility of reaching an agreement in May this year. The recommendations of the European Commission for the development of this plan point out that thanks to the rich sources of biomass, Croatia has one of the greatest potentials in the EU for the development of the bioeconomy, which is an opportunity for green development of rural areas, but also new economic opportunities for po farmers. “

Vjekoslav Jukić, Head of the Sector for Energy Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
“In the new National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia by 2030, we have four development directions – a sustainable economy and society, strengthening resilience to crises, green and digital transition, and balanced regional development. It is green energy, along with the bioeconomy, that is heading in the direction of green and digital transition. Within it, we have strategic goal 8 – ecological and energy transition for climate neutrality. It is obvious that ecology, energy and climate activities are connected here, and the European Green Plan is a continuation of all that. Another important document is the sectoral strategy, ie the Energy Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia by 2030 with a view to 2050, which was adopted on 28 February last year, and it is precisely this that places great emphasis on RES. “

Dr. Nike Kranjc, Slovenian Forestry Institute
“In Slovenia, the drafting of the Law on Renewable Energy Sources is in progress. I hope that within a year we will have a new legislative framework, but I must say that there is no great ambition of the authorities to change that. “

Laurent Sessa, Director of Energostatics
“The heat coming out of the cogeneration is part of the process, not waste heat and it has its price. The price of that heat is close to the price of gas. It is not cheaper, but it is renewable. We have to decide whether to live with a green world and healthy or cheap. We need to be aware that now is the time for a real green transition. We have problems with CO2, migration due to climate change, water problems and it is a bigger disaster than people think and we need to react as soon as possible. Biomass power plants are one of the solutions. Biomass must be strategic for Croatia. We have forest resources and with the help of biomass we can produce large amounts of electricity, but also heat. “

Associate Professor dr. sc. Stjepan Posavec, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, University of Zagreb
“Biomass is useful, especially in rural areas. We say all the time that Croatia has great potential for RES, but there should be people who will unite, tand who will have an interest in it. We need to simplify administrative procedures and we also need to be aware that there is a large gas lobby, that is promoting its energy. ”