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Croatia publishes tender for RES projects from underground geothermal sites

Last week, the Croatian Hydrocarbons Agency published a tender for the exploration of geothermal waters in the Drava Basin for energy purposes in six research areas.

The Drava Basin of the Drava River, flowing through Croatia, Austria and Slovenia, has significant “untapped” geothermal potential, according to a study by the Netherlands Journal of Geosciences. As a result, the Hydrocarbons Agency is offering investors new explorations opportunities in four counties across Croatia: Međimurska, Koprivničko-Križevačka, Podravska, Osječko-Baranjska, covering a total area of ​​over 200 square kilometres.

The potential of exploration areas was identified in earlier wells created for the purposes of exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, which “greatly reduces the risk and costs for future investors”, according to a press release by the Hydrocarbons Agency. The temperature at all locations enables the production of electricity, while the total potential of all locations is around 600,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity.

“At a time when globally there is an urgent need for an increased supply of safe, reliable and affordable energy with an emphasis on the renewable component, the Republic of Croatia is turning its geothermal potential into an invaluable resource,” said the President of the Hydrocarbons Agency, Marijan Krpan. “The activation of geothermal energy is not something that happens overnight and the Republic of Croatia has been intensively working on it for the past four years. These projects can be the backbone of the green transition and the basis of energy stability tomorrow. According to current conservative estimates, geothermal power plants with a total capacity of around 1 GW could be built on the Croatian geothermal sites identified so far.”

Over the next five years, the “minimum” value of investments in geothermal projects in Croatia is “expected” to be 45 million euros. This amount represents the estimated cost of producing a minimum of six exploration wells. That is one exploration well in each exploration area. Once the exact potential of each space is determined, the above-ground works, for example, the construction of the power plant, will begin.

The expected value of the investment is over 400 million euros, and Croatia, as above-stated, can generate over 600,000 MWh of new renewable electricity per year.

The Hydrocarbons Agency, in cooperation with Croatia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, carried out the “necessary preparatory actions” prior to publishing the tender and prepared the tender documentation for the proposed exploration areas. Bidding began on 28 December 2022. The deadline for submitting bids is 1 June 2023.

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