Croatia have officially revealed their first geothermal power plant near Bjelovar. The power plant which is located in Ciglena has a capacity of 16.5 megawatts and has been called Velika 1. The plant, even though being located in Croatia, is owned by Turkish company MB Holding. This power plant is now Europe’s largest binary power plant and took an investment of £37.47 Million to build it.
The geothermal power plant first started operating in December of last year but it was not until March of this year that the power plant started operating at full capacity. Since then it has almost been able to provide the city of Bjelovar with all the electricity that it demands. The core technology of the binary plant was developed and produced by an Italian company, Truboden. Contractors and domestic suppliers for the plant are thought to have made up over 68% of the total investment.
The Velika 1 and the Croatian Energy Market Operator have a power purchase agreement with one another of 10 megawatts of installed capacity. To put this in context, this is enough power to provide to about 29,000 Croatian homes.
Geothermal power plants are able to produce electricity at all times of the day and night and are not dependant on certain weather conditions. This means that the Velika 1 is generating electricity for the Croatian grid at all times. Since the plant started running at its full capacity back in March, the plant has gone on to produce over 55 gigawatt hours of electricity.
The chairman of the board at MB Holding, Muharrem Balat, has said that they have already built 5 power plants in Turkey. These plants have been performing well in Turkey and he hopes that MB holding will be able to perform well in Croatia as well.
Balat also stated the main advantage of a geothermal power plant. Th fact that there plants are able to produce electricity at all times and no matter what weather conditions is massively advantageous over the alternative renewable energy power sources as they can either only produce electricity in certain weather conditions or when the sun is shining. Balat went on to note that geothermal energy power plants can be risky and high cost to make, however MB Holding are committed to investing further in Croatia and potentially go on to create more similar power plants.
In September of this year, MB Holding signed another contract to design and implement another binary power plant in Croatia. The plant is to be named Legrad and is to have a projected installed capacity of 19.9 megawatts.
Data from 2018, showed that Turkey are the number one leader world-wide in terms of adding new geothermal capacity. The same data showed that Croatia were sixth world-wide.