In 1988, Transmadrid participated in the establishment of a cooperation agreement between the Spanish electricity first company, Endesa, and the Yugoslav Union of Electricity in Belgrade, Jugel. In the same year, Transmadrid proposed a protocol of technical cooperation with Endesa and the Croatian Electricity Company, ZEOH (Zajednica Elektroprivrednih Organizacija Hrvatske).
Our initiative was accepted and soon created a climate of understanding and trust that, over the next two years, made it possible of both Endesa and ZEOH visits to Croatia and Spain.
Endesa provided to ZEOH all the necessary documentation related to its own experience in the restructuration to move from a public to a private company, a basic condition for increasing the effectiveness and then proceed with the privatization.
Although Spain experience in the European Union was relatively short, their skills were of great help for the ZEOH managers.
The technical project and the commercial cooperation between the two national electricity companies covered the following parts: the process of dividing a monolithic and monopolistic company into several units (electricity production, processing and distribution), use of modern computer tools in the management of the company, problems related to environmental protection and, finally, renewable energy as essential for a future development.
The outbreak of war in Croatia slowed all these projects and stopped any possible initiative. The broad experience and belief in the importance of cooperation in the energy sector (in which the Spanish experience could be useful) prompted Transmadrid to undertake new attempts to achieve it. The excellent relationship with Dr. Goran Granic, whose energy and enthusiasm to the pursuit of positive experiences was proverbial and encouraged us to launch new initiatives.
In 1995, Transmadrid made Dr. Goran Granic to participate in a presentation at the World Energy Forum in Madrid. His presence was the first participation of Croatia in a specialized forum of this type.
Little by little, the importance to articulate and develop an energy strategy (like the one carried out in Spain some time before) in Croatia was finally considered as necessary.
Transmadrid got in touch Dr. Granic with ICAEN (Catalan Institute of Energy), founded by the Catalan regional government as part of a development strategy for the effective use of energy, a valuable resource to be managed carefully and rationally.
The Spanish partners transmitted valuable experiences to the Croatian in: energy efficiency, rational use of energy resources, models of private sector involvement in renewable energy sources and cogeneration as a technical solution for streamlining energy.
Thanks to this experience and the support of the then Minister of Energy, Vladimir Kramberger, Dr. Granic was able to create the Hrvoje Pozar Energy Institute, in order to coordinate the energy policy in Croatia.
The collaboration of experts from the ICAEN and the Hrvoje Pozar Institute helped to prepare a study on the feasibility of using cogeneration in Croatia, finaced by a grant from the Spanish Government Funds Feasibility Study.
Summary of the feasibility study for the introduction of cogeneration in Croatia in 1999.
The study on the feasibility of cogeneration in Croatia was developed in a close collaboration between the Hrvoje Pozar Institute and ICAEN. We will shortly expose the foundations of this study because of its important involvement in an increasingly demanded sector.
The events of recent years in the Balkans and especially in the former Yugoslavia, meant an effective reduction of the minimum resources to maintain the necessary primary resources and was essential for the re-launch of their productive economies.
Energy as a basis for economic growth was severely punished in the last period of instability. In the case of Croatia, many energy infrastructures were seriously damaged or simply destroyed. Its reconstruction will require a lot of time and especially large financial contributions from the international community. Meanwhile it is clear that it allowed covering minimum energy needs aiming to get out of the situation.
This situation shows the potential penetration of foreign investment in these markets.
At a time when it seemed that finally the different international organizations and countries are determined to give institutional and financial support, the companies necessary to position itself to be able to participate in the business opportunities that will arise from this situation. From the discussions with Energy managers in Croatia it can be deducted that the construction of cogeneration plants will be one of their top priorities. This is logical, since this type of energy production represents a number of advantages compared to traditional plants::
- Closer production to consumption centers.
- Possibility to offer heat and electricity at the same time.
- Less need for investment by not needing transport and traditional processing networks.
- Easy to obtain the necessary funding for these projects. From this point of view, the Spanish experience in the field of cogeneration can be a great push to enter into this market.
ICAEN is able to detect the high potential to implement cogeneration equipment, as large companies (mainly in the sector of heavy industry and chemical) and small companies use large amounts of electricity and heat. The Croatian Ministry of Energy requested the ICAEN to help them to determine the potential of the establishment of cogeneration plants in industry and service sectors in Croatia, in order to initiate a program of construction of such plants as the first step in the establishment of power generation facilities in Croatia..
It should be noted that the study was developed in 1999, when there was already a strong belief in the need of getting efficient energy resources in Spain; financial studies advised Croatia about this. It is also important to note that the Hrvoje Pozar Institute experts shared the same conviction. Unfortunately, if we look at the results, we see that only 10 years later a mature political consciousness began at Croatia. It seems that Transmadrid initiative on the need for an efficient management of electric power was premature. On the contrary, we believe that the attempt to bring this project was timely and that the only problem was the lack of political awareness and economic vision in Croatia.
Despite the result, Transmadrid, as promoter of this project, notes with satisfaction that this was the first project for which the Spanish government approved funds for feasibility studies in Croatia.
On the one hand, the world faces complex problems with unpredictable results, and energy is one of the key sectors. On the other hand, difficult dilemmas exist today as a result of climate change caused by the uncontrolled emissions of CO2 and other pollutants, and also by the limited nature of fossil fuel reserves. It took many years for these events to reach the political consciousness of Governments. In the distant 1989, during our discussions with experts from both electricity companies (Endesa and HEP), and later with ICAEN, these issues were highlighted as an urgent problem to solve.
Fifteen years ago, promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy sources (such as wind, solar or biomass) emerged as essential. The use of renewable energy sources was accompanied by a strong expansion of its facilities industry.
Unfortunately, countries in transition (including Croatia) are quite behind in using renewable energy sources, although the Hrvoje Pozar Institute, which used the Spanish experience, was the pioneer and made the most efforts in this field.
The Hrvoje Pozar Institute is now an important benchmark in the field of energy, not only in Croatia but throughout the region and cooperates with leading companies around the world. It is remarkable to name Indra and Soluziona, two Spanish companies which are studying the energy strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to funds by the World Bank.