Energy efficiency projects in industry
The share of industry in the total final energy consumption in Croatia in 2012 amounted to 17%, so it represents an important sector for energy savings, seeing as this percentage in 2007 was 22.5%. The recorded rate of reducing energy consumption in industry is 7.3% per year, and the trend of reduction is achieved in all industrial sectors. Unfortunately, these data are not the result of increased energy efficiency, but the result of recession and reduction in the scope of energy intensive industries.
Investment in energy efficiency measures enables the companies to streamline the costs and production processes, and to increase the competitiveness of products, while taking advantage of aid provided through the programmes of the Fund reduces investment costs and shortens the time and amount of payment. Moreover, sustainability of business operation indicates a socially responsible company that is exemplar of environmentally conscious business. Socially responsible operation involves a number of measures and procedures ensuring the optimum use of environmentally-friendly and energy efficient products.
As of 1997, the Industrial Energy Efficiency Network has been active in Croatia; its goal is to link the consumers of energy, experts, state institutions and other interested parties in a functioning scheme. It is important to identify the key industrial sectors where energy efficiency measures, such as establishing the system of management, monitoring and analysis of energy use, setting the goals for rational energy consumption, informing and educating the employees, will be implemented. After identifying the key sectors, it is essential to encourage the production of energy from highly efficient cogeneration, and to promote the introduction of efficient electromotor drives. The major part of electricity consumption in industry, as much as 90%, is spent precisely on electromotor drives. By using more energy efficient motors, consumption can be reduced by more than 16%, and cost savings of more than 10% can be achieved.
The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund offers the companies a number of aid programmes under which they can use grants or interest-free loans, in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation on de-minimis aid (small value aid) aimed at protecting competition.
Co-financing is provided for performing energy audits, certification and introducing energy management system ISO 50001, for which up to HRK 50,000 can be obtained. Energy audits are essential for identifying inefficient energy use and outlining proposals for measures to reduce energy consumption and optimize the production process. Pursuant to the Energy Efficiency Act, large companies are obliged to have an energy audit performed every 4 years, while the first energy performance certificate has to be obtained no later than by 5 December 2015. The Ministry of Economy will maintain a public register of these reports (certificates), and the company is obligated to keep the reports for at least 10 years. The companies which introduce energy management system ISO 50001 will be exempted from this obligation, since regular energy audits and energy consumption monitoring constitute an integral element of this management system.
To companies that wish to enhance energy performance of the production process, the Fund is co-financing the preparation of design documentation, as well as the implementation of energy efficiency projects covering all the measures, except for works on the building envelope and construction of new plants. The
Fund co-finances the preparation of design documentation in the maximum amount of up to HRK 1 million per beneficiary, while specific projects can get a grant of up to HRK 1.4 million, which is by 25% more than in the previous years. Besides, the use of renewable energy sources is encouraged, which includes co-production and production of energy using photovoltaic panels, wind turbines or biomass.
Apart from energy efficiency measures for buildings and plants, the companies may apply, in the amount of up to HRK 200,000, for the co-financing of the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles and ecodriving training for their employees, whereby they can reduce fuel consumption by 8-18%. Additional funding can be obtained for converting the vehicles to compressed natural gas (CNG) or electric drive, for the purchase of electric bikes and for distribution route optimization software.