Hello, Dr Julije Domac, Managing director of the North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency (REGEA), host of Celsius Summit 2020. Which are the key learnings you would like to highlight?
The key point I would like to stress is the abundance of opportunities we have in front of us in the next 7 years. As I have mentioned in my closing remarks, money is available for good projects, the EU has firmly set its ambition for decarbonisation and the importance of cities and potential of district heating is clear and explicit. This Summit has helped shine a spotlight on the region of South East Europe which is often overlooked in these discussions and I think we have managed to demonstrate that we should not be counted out. There are a lot of interesting developments and a vast potential which is just waiting to be tapped.
Did you spot some trends?
There are a lot of similarities across the region but also across the EU. The biggest differences are the starting points, perceptions, and market conditions. In general, cities and district heating systems across Europe are all striving for decarbonisation, implementation of renewables and increased energy efficiency and the technical solutions are mostly the same: reduced supply temperatures, utilization of sources such as solar and geothermal and increased efficiency in the supply networks. From a policy perspective, we can also see a lot of alignment in terms of local and regional planning towards climate neutrality. One overall need I would like to highlight is the need for the empowerment of the local and regional governments to tailor their energy and climate plans as budgets. They are the ones that best understand their needs, potentials and limitations and should be able to address all these aspects more.
What does it mean for REGEA/Croatia to host the Celsius summit?
This has been a rewarding experience. It has given us an opportunity to highlight some of the activities REGEA and other institutions in Croatia are doing as well as to compare with and learn from some of the EU’s best. We have learned a lot and will continue the cooperation we have had with the Celsius Initiative. We are already talking with some of our local participants to join the network and are looking forward to the opportunities this will bring.