Croatia has maintained a similar-sized district heating system over the past fifteen years, which supplies around 10% of the total population with district heating. There is a considerable requirement for refurbishment of the existing networks in order to increase customer confidence, energy efficiency and profitability.
Natural gas is the most dominant energy source for space heating and domestic hot water in Croatia. It is also the main competitor of district heating. District heating networks are found in larger continental cities and their share in the local heat market lies between 15% and 40%.
The district heating networks in Croatia are predominantly supplied with recycled heat, with 2015 levels at almost 77%. The main fuel source for district heat was natural gas (74.5%) and around 80% of the total fuel used for district heat was generated through combined heat and power. As shown in the graph below, 6.5% of the residential heat demand was covered by district heating in 2015. At present, there is no district cooling market in Croatia, but there is an estimated total potential of 10 TWh.
District heating has been set as a priority for Croatia’s energy policy with a number of defined development guidelines, including the need to modernise district heating systems and to provide incentives for the development of new district heat customers. In the update of the Energy Strategy and the Implementation Programme of Croatia, it is stated that the construction of distributed energy infrastructure, as a complement to large energy systems, will be stimulated, as well as the application of heat pumps due to their high efficiency and lower environmental impact.