The Fund’s Action Plan was developed on the basis of the best practice examples from the FIRESPOL (Financial Instruments for Renewable Energy Investment) partner countries: Spain, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, and Poland. The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund is the Croatian implementing authority for the FIRESPOL project, which is financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund under the Interreg Europe programme, implemented from June 2018 until 2022. 

The measures in the Action Plan include the setting up of a “One-stop shop”, a single point of information about the possibilities for co-financing the projects for using renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, and the public call that was launched for co-financing the use of solar energy aimed at small property owners and family farms offering tourism services.

The European Union is actively promoting the transition of Europe to a low-greenhouse society, and it is updating its rules to facilitate the necessary private and public investment in the transition to clean energy. Croatia, as a country with great RES potential, could achieve a high level of energy independence in the future, which should be contributed to by legislative amendments and various models of financing projects, such as grants and financial instruments. This trend is becoming more important and is aimed at eliminating administrative and other barriers.

As the Fund is already recognised for providing accessible and transparent advisory tools and assistance instruments for the implementation of RES, energy efficiency and environmental protection projects, the setting up of a One-stop-shop is the logical next step.

Taking into account the importance of tourism for the Croatian economy, encouraging the use of solar energy in this sector is perfectly reasonable and necessary. Therefore, as the second measure for the promotion of the use of RES, the Fund chose the Public Call inaugurated in September 2020, aimed at small property owners offering tourist accommodation and family agritourism farms for the use of RES. The total value of the calls in 2020 amounted to HRK 7 million, and in line with the terms and conditions of the call, eligible applicants included registered property owners and family agritourism farms, which can get up to 200 thousand kunas for the costs of construction of a photovoltaic power plant for own needs. The response to the call was very good, and 144 projects were approved for co-financing. 

Investments in renewable energy sources have a key role in achieving the goals of the European Green Deal. With the goal of at least 32% of the energy produced from RES by 2030, Europe should significantly contribute to the fight against climate change and fulfilling the climate goals in the Paris Agreement, as well as environmental protection and reducing air pollution.

Author: Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund

Photo Credits: Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.