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E.On Croatia eyes SEE markets to extend regional reach

Author E.ON Croatia
E.On Croatia eyes SEE markets to extend regional reach

E.ON Croatia, part of Germany’s energy major E.ON, has been operating in the Croatian market since 2009. The company specialises in providing solar energy services and solutions, but it also supplies electricity, gas and wastewater disposal services. Its customers include both households and companies. Vedran Belamaric is the company’s Director of Customer Solutions EIS (energy infrastructure solutions).

1. Mr. Belamaric, what are the main areas of operation of E.ON in Croatia?

E.ON SE operates in two main areas. One is, what we call, energy networks and that concerns power and gas grids. The other area is more broad and its main focus are customer solutions. By customer solutions, we mean supply of electricity and gas, energy solutions for households and infrastructural solutions for industry and municipalities. This part of the business is referred to as еnergy infrastructure solutions or shortly EIS. E.ON Croatia is present in all of these domains but we see the highest growth potential in EIS for business customers and partners in local municipalities. Besides these business streams, we are also operating the biggest waste water treatment facility in the region in the city of Zagreb.

2. E.ON Croatia is already a market leader when it comes to solar energy. Does the company plan to reinforce its other renewable segments or further diversify its portfolio in the country?

Over the last several years, E.ON Croatia has become a leader in photovoltaics (PV) in terms of installed capacity, having installed close to 50MWp in 2022 alone. Our main model is PV solution for prosumers, which are customers that consume the energy produced by the PV system on site. However, we are designing, building and operating bigger ground mounted PV parks as well. Last year, we built the two biggest systems at the moment in Croatia, each close to 10MWp installed capacity. When it comes to the question about diversification, the answer is, yes. We are working on bringing an array of energy solutions to our customers besides the PV systems. E.ON has a huge know-how in many other energy solutions, like cogeneration, biomass, low temperature energy systems, cooling and heating, heat pumps, but also auxiliary services and energy management in general. We are just about to finish our first cogeneration plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia and we are working on couple of biomass projects. Besides that, we are also providing energy efficiency solutions to some of our bigger customers. We want to become the number one partner for energy transition to our customers and partners.

3. The energy crisis accelerated the transition to green energy and the number of investors investing in large-scale solar projects is increasing. What solutions does E.ON Croatia offer to large clients?

We started as an EPC company, meaning that we provided engineering, design and installation services from the beginning. But E.ON is much more than that. E.ON offers access to energy markets for such customers and we are open to partnerships, including different joint ventures and financing options. Our aim is to offer a full range of solutions and services, which is a unique value proposition for the customers in the markets where E.ON operates. This includes bigger solar parks.

4. The company’s portfolio of projects encompasses a wide range of industries. Can you tell us about the current trends - which industries invest the most in solar?

A lot of our projects are tailor-made for specific customers. But the most important industries where we have brought green electricity and security of supply to our customers have been the food and beverage industry, manufacturing (wood industry and pharma) and tourism. But there is a huge potential for decarbonization across the whole spectrum of industries in which we are active, like retail and projects with municipalities where we can deliver projects on large scales.

We see that this trend is on the rise and companies are realizing that apart from price risk, the security and stability of the supply is also important. Many of the customers in these industries want to lock their energy costs for the longer period, for example 10-20 years.

5. What are the company’s plans for future investments? Are you looking into potential expansion to other markets in the region?

In 2022, E.ON Croatia invested more than EUR 22 mln in projects in Croatia and Slovenia. We are looking to further scale up the investments through BOT and ESCO models for our customers but also PPA from the offsite PV parks.  We are already present in these two markets but our approach is to follow the customers. We work with a number of companies that have a regional foothold in Southeast Europe and we want to provide solutions for these customers in our neighboring countries like Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and potentially Bulgaria if there is a need for it. For the time being, we are still operating from Zagreb where the headquarters of the regional operations is located.

48MWp installed PV in 2022
Total installed capacity: approximately 70MWp, over 200 power plants

25 million euro of investments so far
30 million euro to be invested in the coming period
The largest photovoltaic power plants in Croatia (9.9MWp Drava and 9.6MWp Pliva)

E.ON's first cogeneration power plant in the region – the Aquafil project in Ljubljana
In preparation for biomass cogeneration and step forward into other energy solutions
40+ experts in the EIS team

Оver 100MWp of projects in the sales pipeline at a high stage of development

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