Solar Energy in Croatia: First Plant to be Built in Gdinj, Hvar?
Residents of small village on Hvar present plan to maximise the energy potential of Croatia's sunniest island at the SASO International Fair in Split.
A comprehensive plan to introduce the first solar power plant on Hvar has been presented by a delegation from the village of Gdinj at the SASO International Fair in Split, according to Croatian news portal Business.hr in a report on October 20, 2011.
Exploiting Hvar's Natural Resources
A key theme at the fair was the topic of long-term development strategies in the renewable energy sector, for which Dalmatia has excellent resources and potential, with the renowned climate of the island of Hvar - it averages 2,724 hours of sunshine a year, making it the sunniest island in the Adriatic - just one example.
"Can Dalmatian islands offer something more than the sea, the sun, the shore, the summer and tourism?" asked Alen Curin, the head of the Gdinj project. His answer was an emphatic yes, in the shape of renewable energy, from the sun, sea and wind.
"The ideal location of great energy potential, energy crisis and high prices of energy – which can only be produced from renewable sources – are just some of the advantages of the [Gdinj] location," Curin added.
Potential of Eastern Hvar
The Gdinj plan would employ a dozen locals, install a solar power plant facility with a 2 MW capacity on the highest point near Gdinj, and synchronise with the national grid, helping to meet the increased tourist demand in peak season.
If successful, the project would be a welcome boost for the local community, which is several depopulated in comparison to the more fashionable western half of the island, whose main settlement, Hvar Town, is one of the hottest destinations in the Adriatic, attracting celebrities such as Beyonce and Prince Harry this summer alone.
In contrast, the eastern side of the island, arguably the most beautiful part, is comprised of four almost-abandoned stone villages and pockets of population in a few isolated bays, and one small town, the port of Sucuraj, which connects Hvar to the mainland and is the gateway to Dubrovnik.
Nikki Beach to Build Luxury Resort near Sucuraj
The potential of virgin land in such a stunning and desirable location has been attracting the interest of international investors, keen to exploit other aspects of the island's potential. The luxury hotel chain, Nikki Beach Resorts, has purchased 80,000m2 of land close to Sucuraj, and is in the process of obtaining the permits to build one of the most luxurious resorts on the Croatian coast.
Whether it be expanding tourism or exploiting Hvar's natural resources to improve renewable energy, there plenty of potential in the island recently voted among Europe's top ten by readers of Conde Nast.