First Croatian Energetically Self-Sustainable Settlements Being Designed

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, carrying an estimated project value of 25 million euros, with seemingly great ambitions and on a European scale, things are moving in the direction of designing the first Croatian energetically self-sustainable settlements.

The local population of several settlements in Velika Gorica near Zagreb will need to recognise and choose the benefits arising from sustainable energy without air pollution. They are separated from this act by one big step – the development of an investment concept for which the Velika Gorica authorities have received a significant European Union grant.

Their project application – applied within the Horizon 2020 programme of the European City Facility (EUCF) met all of the stringent criteria for the aforementioned cash sum.

The result is a grant worth 60,000 euros for the purpose of developing an investment concept called “The development of energy-positive and climate-neutral settlements.” The settlements of Busevec, Rakitovec and Turopolje were chosen as the pilot areas for the development of the investment concept, along with the settlement of Ogulinec in the immediate vicinity and at the same time on the outskirts of the city.

According to the acting mayor of Velika Gorica, Kresimir Ackar, the project aims to examine the possibilities of creating the first Croatian energetically self-sustainable settlements with minimal air pollution.

These partcular pilot settlements were chosen because they are surrounded by forest and agricultural land and have enough potential in terms of local renewable sources to achieve energy independence, and on the other hand, they’re on the outskirts of the administrative area of ​​the city itself.

The focus is being especially placed on Busevec, one of the oldest settlements in the area. According to Ackar, locals are always interested in exploring new possibilities aimed at improving the quality of their own lives, which is what this project aims for, so the feasibility study will determine what the possibilities for developing energy and climate independent settlements actually are.

The need for the energetic renovation of households will be taken into account, the potential of the surrounding forest and agricultural lands will be examined, it will be determined whether it is more profitable to build a smaller heating plant that would supply all settlements in the pilot area, or if it is instead more profitable to heat all of the settlements. and ultimately, they’ll decide on which of these solutions will pollute the air less.

The entire investment concept is expected to be completed by the end of the year. What the local population gets will be seen based on what people are the most interested in, and there will also be options on offer such as solar collectors or heat pumps, photovoltaic power plants to produce electricity, and so on.

The new development perspective shows that the local population has the most prominent position because they will choose between several offered solutions based on RES, and the project itself will be implemented in three different phases. Using the benefits of digital technology, the situation on the ground will be analysed first, and at this stage, the first talks with the local population will be initiated, in order to immediately get them more involved in the project.

According to the last census from 2011, there were 886 inhabitants in Busevec, 570 inhabitants in Rakitovac, 292 inhabitants in Ogulinac, 953 inhabitants in Turopolje and 57 inhabitants in Lazi Turopolje.

A public procurement procedure has been carried out and a contract for the preparation of a Techno-economic analysis of possible solutions within the EUCF grant is an important link before launching the development of an investment concept that will answer the question of the possibilities for transition to new renewable energy sources.

According to Ackar, the new project also confirms at the European level that they’re moving in the same direction that Europe has determined by adopting the European Green Plan.

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