1.5 The energy sector – Zagreb, Croatia, June 6th, 2013
Robert Pasicko - UNDP Croatia
As the nexus between meteorology and energy is getting more and more attention with the growth of investments in renewable energy, it also means that there was an interest from possible stakeholders to participate in a second workshop and to discuss possible climate services available including the Product Sheets prepared within the CLIM-RUN project. The second stakeholder workshop in the energy field was co-organized by DHMZ and UNDP Croatia. Local stakeholders were represented from academic, research, business, consultancy and regulator’s organizations and companies (all together 28 participants).
The opening remarks were given by Cedo Brankovic, national coordinator of the CLIM-RUN project in Croatia, who presented basic information on the workshop goals and the project. It was followed by two presentations, each focusing on climate variables that are needed by renewable energy sources – in particular, wind and hydro energy. Alica Bajic (DHMZ) stated that according to results from Regional Climate Models, the increase of wind speed in the period 2040-2070 in Croatia in some regions could be significantly higher than today's wind speed. The energy yield from wind generators increases with the cubic relation with wind speeds. However, it does not mean that a huge increase in wind speed will lead to higher wind energy production because the most important factor is the wind distribution. Renata Sokol Jurkovic (DHMZ) focused on the importance of climate information for energy production from hydro power, showing the case of the hydro power plant Senj in Croatia. Robert Pasicko (UNDP) gave a presentation on the interactions between climate change and energy generation from renewable energy sources. He concluded that by the midcentury in Croatia a neutral impact is expected of climate variables on electricity generation from PV, a positive impact on generation (in terms of higher value) from wind parks and a rather negative impact on generation from hydropower because of frequent periods of droughts.
During the lively panel discussion it was emphasized that due to the complexity of the interactions between the climate system and different energy sources, it is important to have both ways of communication open between climate experts and users: i.e., to combine a bottom-up with a top-down approach, in order to get better understanding of mutual activities. That was most evident in communication between the Croatian Power Company (HEP) and the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ).
The discussion that followed searched for the value of climate information in planning electricity generation from hydropower plants. The potential areas of interaction between CLIM-RUN and stakeholders in the energy sector in Croatia were discussed.
DHMZ based its forecasts mostly on a probabilistic approach, as it is the global hydro meteorological trend. Final customers such as HEP Trade don’t understand this as the complete climate information on which they could build their bilateral agreements for electricity import. But since the deterministic approach is not in use anymore, they agreed to integrate probabilistic approach into energy planning whilst DHMZ agreed on giving more tangible information along with probabilistic forecasts. All participants, however, agreed on the huge importance in matching energy planning and climate information. In Croatia, DHMZ is the only authorized institution in giving climate information. HEP Trade is searching for all kind of climate information so they can plan their agreements which often mean contacting local people in searching for real weather condition. They questioned why DHMZ is not giving all hydro information for free as it is the case in Slovenia.
Who takes the risk in giving faulty forecasts was another question raised during the panel discussion. It was concluded that all involved parties are not immune on this topic but DHMZ explained that they are just offering a span of possibilities and that they cannot guarantee accuracy of information. According to them, the end customers are the one who should pay for the service and then take responsibility for decisions based on the information. In addition, HEP Trade introduced their needs from climate forecasts such as changes in level of precipitation as the major factor in hydro energy planning.
It was concluded that better information and understanding on climate data should lead to more efficient planning in hydro energy generation. Close relationships between all involved parties in the process are critical in order to have legitimate and useful climate data. The meeting was seen as a good step forward to bring the energy and climate circles closer together and this opportunity will be emphasized in the future.