Croatia’s state-owned power utility, Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP), has unveiled ambitious plans to transform the site of its Plomin thermal power plant, the country’s sole coal-fired electricity unit, into a hub for clean energy production.
The project involves the installation of a solar power plant and an electrolyzer for hydrogen production, marking a significant step towards Croatia’s goal of phasing out coal by 2033.
Croatia’s Plomin thermal power plant (TPP) has been a key player in the country’s energy landscape, but it’s on the brink of a profound transformation. With plans to cease operation at TPP Plomin by 2035, HEP is strategically evaluating how to repurpose this crucial location.
The endeavor began in June last year when HEP initiated consultations to identify the best available techniques (BAT) for utilizing alternative fuels like gas, biomass, and waste in unit A, with a capacity of 125 MW, which has been dormant since late 2017. Meanwhile, unit B, boasting a capacity of 210 MW, remains operational, generating electricity.
HEP’s vision is crystal clear: to harness the potential of renewable energy at the Plomin site. In a recent public call for the preparation of documentation to obtain a location permit for a photovoltaic power plant and an electrolyzer, the company outlined its environmentally conscious plan.
The proposed solar power plant, with a capacity of 25 MW, will complement the electrolyzer for hydrogen production. This synergy aligns with Croatia’s commitment to the transition to low-carbon energy sources and reflects the current state of the electricity system and infrastructure.
Hydrogen, known as the fuel of the future, will play a pivotal role in Croatia’s green energy landscape. The electrolyzer will produce hydrogen using electricity from the solar plant or directly feed it into the grid—a move in line with market trends promoting cleaner energy sources.
The applications for the produced hydrogen are diverse. It can be utilized in the existing boiler of unit 2 (unit B) or injected into the natural gas grid managed by Plinacro, up to a maximum of 10%. Beyond these options, HEP has plans to compress and sell hydrogen for use in powering trucks and ships or to charge hydrogen batteries, demonstrating the versatility of this clean energy source.
Croatia’s decision to shift from coal to renewables is a clear testament to its commitment to sustainability. The phased closure of TPP Plomin aligns with the country’s aim to phase out coal by 2033, reducing its carbon footprint and embracing cleaner energy solutions.
HEP’s ambitious project at Plomin serves as a beacon of hope for a greener and more sustainable energy future in Croatia. It exemplifies the nation’s dedication to navigating the global transition towards clean energy while reimagining the role of traditional coal-fired power plants in a rapidly changing energy landscape.