Croatia launches auctions for 607 MW of solar, wind, hydro

The Croatian Energy Market Operator (HROTE) has announced a much-anticipated, €257.2 million ($273.5 million) round of renewable energy auctions. It has allocated the biggest quota of 450 MW for solar projects and has set a deadline to award the subsidies by year’s end.

HROTE has announced a renewable energy procurement exercise for solar, wind and hydropower projects. It is the second round of auctions since Croatia introduced market premiums to support renewable energy projects in mid-2020.

It allocated the biggest quota of 450 MW for solar projects, in addition to 150 MW of wind farms and 7.25 MW of hydropower projects. This puts the grand total at 607.25 MW of installations, which will be backed by €257.2 million.

The tender will be carried out in two phases. One will award market premiums for projects with installed capacities of more than 1 MW each, including 350 MW of solar, 60 MW of wind and 7.25 MW of hydropower. The maximum reference values for premiums per megawatt-hour are €67.05 for photovoltaics, €75.27 for wind, and €158.30 for hydropower.

The other part of the tender procedure will award premiums for solar projects with capacities ranging from 200 kW to 6 MW, and wind farms with capacities from 200 kW to 18 MW. The quota is 100 MW for solar and 90 MW for wind.

In this part of the tender, the market premium will be awarded to all types of projects – both wind and solar – between 200 kW and 1 MW. Separately, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as renewable energy communities, can qualify PV projects from 200 kW up to 6 MW for the subsidies, in addition to wind projects ranging from 200 kW to up to 18 MW.

The maximum reference values of market premiums for solar are €82.04, and €75.27 for wind.

HROTE officially announced the tender on April 12, noting that the public call will be on for the next 60 days. After that, the regulatory body plans to kickstart the bidding process, which will last for the following 15 days.

The first auction for large-scale projects in Croatia took place in 2022 to procure 638 MW of new capacity. However, it only attracted tepid interest, with premiums awarded to just 107 MW of projects. The regulator offered a 300 MW quota for solar plants, but only four bids were accepted, for a total capacity of 8 MW.

Small-scale renewable energy projects were procured in 2021. The cumulative quota was 88 MW, but incentives were approved only for 25.5 MW of renewable energy projects, including 13.4 MW of solar.

HROTE’s initial plan was to launch the current round last year and it has been under strong pressure to do so ever since. The auction is in line with the new subsidy program to incentivize renewables and high-efficiency cogeneration with market premiums and feed-in tariffs, said HROTE. The regulatory body adopted it two days before kicking off the tender.

Total subsidies are estimated at €286.6 million, according to the program. This amount includes a third tender, which will award guaranteed purchase prices to facilities with capacities ranging from 50 kW to 200 kW, to be announced at a later date. The quotas are 50 MW for solar and 1 MW for hydropower. The deadline to allocate the planned subsidies is Dec. 31.

Croatia added 238.7 MW of solar in 2023, according to figures from the Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia (RESC), bringing the grand total to 462.5 MW.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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