At a time of great and rapid change fueling global energy uncertainty, a Slovenian and Croatian energy agencies meeting was held in Zagreb on November 28. The meeting aimed to define what more the energy agencies can do in the field of cooperation within RePowerEU and the possibility of joint projects and energy policies of Slovenia and Croatia.
Present at the meeting were Slovenian FEDARENE members ENERGAP, Selnica ob Dravi Municipality, Spodnje Podravje Local Energy Agency, and the Energy Agency of Savinjska, Šaleška and Koroška region; as well as Croatian FEDARENE members REGEA, REA North, Medjimurje Energy Agency, and REA Kvarner.
Croatian and Slovenian energy agencies have been successfully cooperating for years. After several joint European projects, regular meetings have been established to discuss common challenges, possible solutions, and opportunities, consult national ministries and European institutions, and share experiences and best practices.
Most energy agencies in both countries can now reflect on more than ten years of successful work, but the accumulated results and professional capacities are truly impressive. There are 13 agencies in total (7 Slovenian and 6 Croatian) that employ over 150 experts, with investment projects that exceed the value of 500 million euros.
The cooperation between Croatian and Slovenian energy agencies has shown complete mutual understanding – the problems faced by energy agencies due to lack of state administrative capacity and systematic energy policy are almost the same on both sides of the border.
Both countries can and should do more to promote sustainable energy use projects. Government policies, while increasingly recognizing the need for energy transition and the economic and environmental potential, are moving too slowly. There is tremendous economic and investment potential in connecting Croatian and Slovenian agencies – in terms of projects and investments that can be linked and implemented together. The political message that cooperation within the framework of the EU is possible, necessary, and desirable is an important message to the governing bodies from experts, emphasized Dr. Sc. Julije Domac.
Encouraging renewable energy sources, emphasizing solar energy, digitization through the merging of national bases necessary for the establishment of smart cities, and planning adaptations to climate change are important for a faster energy transition.
Energy agencies have been carrying out the energy transition story long before the topic became mainstream. The Slovenian and Croatian energy agencies have concluded that the next period is an opportunity for significant changes and joint projects. Their expectations are also focused on more substantial support from national governments.