Turks Building Power Plant Worth 250 Million Kuna in Legrad

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac writes on the 30th of June, 2020, the Turkish company MB Geothermal is about to realise the very long-awaited construction of a geothermal power plant in Legrad in Koprivnica-Krizevci County, Podravski reports.

Just over a month ago, the Croatian Government passed a regulation on quotas to encourage the production of electricity from renewable energy sources and high-efficiency cogeneration. According to that document, twenty megawatts of power have been approved for geothermal power plants, and it is precisely that aforementioned Turkish company which will ask for that much power for its power plant being constructed in Legrad.

The Turks could get the support of the Croatian Government because they went the furthest from all those interested in Croatia with their Legrad-based geothermal power plant project. The power plant project has been created, and the only obstacle is the county spatial planning situation, according to which the current version in Legrad doesn’t actually provide for a thermal power plant.

The power plant in Legrad, as things stand now, will be constructed with advanced technology, and unlike the project not far from Bjelovar, which the Turkish company has already realised, in Legrad, the carbon dioxide which will be released in the process of steam exploitation, will be returned together with warm water into the reservoir. There are plans to use geothermal water for other purposes in addition to producing electricity, too. It was announced that the remaining water, after passing through steam turbines, would be used to heat a greenhouse and to produce vegetables.

”For now, only a power plant has been planned, but the project also envisages a connection where hot water could, instead of being returned to the soil, be redirected to some other facilities, if there’s interest in that,” said Ivan Sabolic, Mayor of Legrad, who stated that the construction of the power plant has an estimated price tag of 32 million euros, but if the accompanying projects, such as greenhouses or even spas, were realised, the amount of investment would be much higher. The project should start in the spring of next year and be completed by the year 2025.

Legrad has been somewhat abandoned and there is a shortage of residents as many have left looking for better lives economically speaking, mostly to Europe. Therefore, at the beginning of the year, the mayor offered houses owned by the municipality for sale for a mere kuna. The ad read: ‘‘Whoever wants to live in Podravina, on the border with Medjimurje, is less than 40 years old, has a job and has no criminal record, is welcome. The house will cost one kuna, the person can count on additional financial support and a quiet life in the countryside. Quiet, but not boring,” – Nineteen people responded.

The investor in the Legrad power plant, the Turkish company MB Holding, which includes MB Geothermal, was founded back in 1968, and built the first geothermal power plant in Turkey and later built three more.

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