Pokupsko: a Croatian region powered by sustainable energy

There's just one week left to go until voting closes for the EU Sustainable Energy Week Citizens' Award! One EU sustainable energy project out of nine finalists will be chosen by voters from across the EU to win this prestigious award.

Our series of short stories about innovative sustainable energy projects in the running for this award continues with a small community in the EU's newest member country…

Pokupsko, a region nestled in the middle of Croatia, is fast becoming an energy-efficient role model for the rest of the country and indeed Europe. The region meets 75% of its energy needs with locally-produced energy, and it aims to reach 100% in the next few years.

The story starts in 2008 when this 5,000-strong, largely agricultural community, suffering from population decline, became an advocate of sustainable development and environmental protection.

Under its sustainable energy scheme, LED lighting was installed along 25 km of road and geothermal heat pumps were fitted in kindergartens and an infant school. Meanwhile, solar PV panels were installed on local government rooftops.

For heating, an innovative communal biomass plant was constructed. This provides heating to public buildings as well as some commercial buildings and households.

The project has helped cut greenhouse gas emissions and save energy, and it has had a positive effect on the local community too. Schools have been able to spend more on educational activities and a scholarship has been set-up for poorer children in Pokupsko.

The region also plans to construct a learning centre on sustainable development.

EU Sustainable Energy Week 2016 takes place from 13 – 17 June. Vote for your favourite EU sustainable energy project! Read about all nine finalists in the running for the EU Sustainable Energy Week Citizens' Award and tell us which one you'd like to win. Hurry! Voting closes on 5 June.

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