The Ministry must cooperate with civil society in order for energy communities to come to life!


Croatia, and especially Dalmatia, has a huge potential for harnessing solar energy through solar power plants. However, Dalmatia is one of the least developed regions in terms of exploiting this resource. Renewable energy sources have the potential to provide citizens with partial energy independence and ensure long-term investment. One of the most important instruments for expanding civic energy or energy in the hands of citizens is the energy community.

Energy communities are important because they represent the potential for democratization of the energy sector through the gathering of more citizens who produce renewable energy themselves.

This is one of the main messages from yesterday’s round table “How to get renewable energy sources in the hands of citizens?” as part of the thematic network “Jedro” in which Sunce is  one of the partners.

At the round table, held in Zagreb, good practices and challenges of groups dealing with the implementation of civic energy from renewable sources were presented. Damir Medved and Damir Juričić presented the Northern Adriatic Energy Community. They pointed out the obstacles they encountered in its founding. Despite overcoming the initial obstacles, they still have to overcome the biggest barrier, which is to arrange a modality for regulators by which they will actively perform their function, produce and exchange electricity.

Sanela Mikulčić Šantić presented the work of the energy cooperative KLIK from Križevci. After the Green Energy Cooperative (ZEZ) realized the first solar power plant built by citizens in this city, KLIK continued with activities promoting civic energy. Thanks to their engagement, 792 kW of solar power plants were designed and 270 kW built. Also, there are now six local companies active in Križevci that are engaged in the design and/or construction of power plants.  18 people are directly employed in jobs related to the design and construction of solar power plants.

After the presentation of examples from practice, a discussion was followed by Aleksandar Halavanja, Head of The Energy Efficiency Department of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, Valentina Đurek on behalf of the Northwest Croatia Regional Energy and Climate Agency (REGEA), Goran Čačić on behalf of ZEZ and Ivan Zoković as a representative of initiatives dealing with the implementation of civic energy projects in Croatia.

As expected, the topic of energy communities was in focus. Once again, their importance has been confirmed because they represent a model by which citizens exposed to energy poverty can also engage in the transition to a post-fossil society. In addition, they are an outstanding control instrument that, combined with the appropriate technology, can achieve the balancing of the power system.

However, although there has been a legislative framework for two years, there is not yet an active energy community in Croatia. It pointed to a whole series of illogicalities prescribed by the Croatian framework, which do not exist in EU legislation. For example, the obligation of a permanently employed person in the energy community, the limit of installed capacity to 500 KW, the narrow prescription of the organizational form with the exclusion of cooperatives as possible founders of energy communities, the undefined concept of energy sharing among members of the energy community, etc. The organizer expressed regret that representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development  and regulators did not respond to the discussion. Given the knowledge and experience of civic energy stakeholders, it is necessary to improve the legal framework to involve them more actively.


The round table was organized as part of the project “JEDRO – Public policies for sustainable social development: water, energy, waste” co-financed by the European Union by the European Social Fund. The thematic network JEDRO, a research and advocacy consortium, consists of civil society organizations in the field of environmental protection, energy cooperatives and the Faculty of Political Science.