Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Incentives for ‘sustainable’ biomass

My digression, lack of management. Where sustainable forest management is not practiced or where natural forests are damaged by human intervention, unsustainable forestry occurs, which the EU is fighting against, and therefore, the Republic of Croatia should. 

Yesterday in the presidential debate, Trump touched on just that.

"The forest floor is full of trees, dead trees left there for years and everything else. If you throw a cigarette inside, the whole forest burns down. Every year they call me California burns. If it was cleared, if you had forest management, good forest management, you wouldn't get those calls. "

Trump compared the situation in California, where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by fires, to a Europe where they properly manage forest assets. "In Europe, people live in cities that are literally in the woods, maintaining their forest, managing their forest. There should be no such problem. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of land can't just burn to ashes every year. It's burning for lack of management."

In this part, I completely agree with President Trump. In recent years, we have extinguished fires in the Republic of Croatia due to the biomass left after pruning, illegal dumps and thrown glass that caused it, (not to mention arsonists who are the subject of some other texts and institutions).

All of us should aim to manage and use forest land in a way and speed that maintains their productivity, biodiversity, productivity, regenerative capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill relevant environmental, economic and social functions at local, national and European level now and in the future. level without causing damage to other ecosystems. Zeljko Serdar, CCRES

Moja digresija, nedostatak upravljanja. Tamo gdje se održivo gospodarenje šumama ne prakticira ili gdje su prirodne šume oštećene ljudskom intervencijom, dolazi do neodrživog šumarstva protiv čega se bori EU, a samim time, trebala bi i Republika Hrvatska. Jučer u predsjedničkoj debati Trump se dotakao upravo toga. 

"Šumska su tla krcata drvećem, mrtvim stablima ostavljenim tamo godinama i svime ostalim. Baciš li cigaretu unutra, cijela šuma izgori. Svake godine kad me nazovu Kalifornija gori. Da je to očišćeno, da imate gospodarenje šumama, dobro upravljanje šumama, ne biste dobivali te pozive." 

Trump je usporedio situaciju u Kaliforniji, gdje su stotine tisuća ljudi raseljene zbog požara, s Europom u kojoj pravilno upravljaju šumskim dobrom. "U Europi ljudi žive u gradovima koji su doslovno u šumama, održavaju svoju šumu, upravljaju svojom šumom. Ne bi trebao postojati taj problem. Ne može svake godine stotine tisuća hektara zemlje samo izgorjeti do pepela.To gori zbog nedostatka upravljanja." 

U ovome dijelu u potpunosti se slažem s predsjednikom Trumpom. Prošlih godina gasili smo požare po RH zbog ostavljene biomase nakon obrezivanja, divljih deponija i bačenog stakla koje ga je prouzročilo, (da ne spominjem piromane koji su tema za neke druge tekstove i ustanove).

Svima nama cilj bi trebao biti upravljanje i korištenje šumskih zemljišta na način i brzinom koja održava njihovu produktivnost, biološku raznolikost, produktivnost, sposobnost regeneracije, vitalnost i njihov potencijal da sada i u budućnosti ispunjavaju relevantne ekološke, ekonomske i socijalne funkcije na lokalnoj, nacionalnoj i Europskoj razini, a da to ne uzrokuje štetu drugim ekosustavima. I to je to. Željko Serdar, HCOIE    

While recognising the positive role of forests in mitigating global warming, the European Commission has riled the agroforestry and biomass industries by stating its intention of limiting growth in the sector.Will the EU impose a cap on the number of trees that can be felled in Europe each year? Judging by the Commission’s 2030 climate plan, presented last week, this is now looking like a distinct possibility.The capacity of forests to act as a “carbon sink” – absorbing more CO2 than they emit – is decreasing and needs to be reversed, the Commission said in its new climate plan for 2030. The EU executive argues that “we need a growing sink in order for the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050” and calls for improved forest management as well as “re- and afforestation” initiatives to restore degraded land and preserve biodiversity. “We really have to take care of our forests,” said Frans Timmermans, the EU executive vice-president in charge of climate action. “We need to make sure our forests stay healthy and this is going to be a momentous task,” he told journalists. Forest owners wouldn’t contradict the Commission on this point. Time and again, they have highlighted the role of “sustainable forest management practices” in environmental conservation and how those can support the EU’s biodiversity and climate objectives. However, they say the Commission’s 2030 climate plan places too much emphasis on the role of forests as carbon sinks. “This approach is rather unfortunate as it omits two other major climate benefits provided by forests: carbon storage in EU forests and wood products and carbon substitution with wood replacing fossil-based products and energy,” said Fanny-Pomme Langue, secretary-general of the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF).

For forest owners, the key is to maintain forests as “productive” economic tools providing them with the revenues necessary to take care of their land. And that implies thinning, harvesting and replanting trees as part of “active” forest management practices. “Forest owners are custodians of forests’ future and their focus is to maintain productive, healthy and vital ecosystems,” said Sven-Erik Hammar, board member of CEPF. This was the view espoused by the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, which backed a report earlier this month charting “the way forward” for the EU’s upcoming forest strategy, expected to be published in the coming months.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, seemed to acknowledge the role forests can play for the climate. In her state of the union speech last week, she said Europe’s buildings could be turned “from a carbon source into a carbon sink if organic materials like wood” are being used. Because trees absorb CO2 as they grow, harvesting them to make wood products is indeed considered as a “climate positive” economic activity which sequesters carbon in the form of furniture or building materials. More controversial however is when wood is burned in biomass plants to produce electricity, or as a way of heating people’s homes. Critics say burning wood immediately releases CO2 which took years or even decades to accumulate during the tree’s growth phase. This, they argue, creates a “carbon debt” for future generations until new trees can grow back and suck an equivalent amount of CO2. And since time is running out to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 2°C, they argue urgent action must be taken now to prevent a further increase in biomass burning for energy generation. The European Commission seemed to pay heed to those concerns when it placed the emphasis on the need to restore carbon sinks in Europe.

“Projected increases in bioenergy use by 2030 are limited compared to today,” the Commission pointed out in its 2030 climate plan, guarding against any “further increases in harvesting” that could see the EU’s carbon sink decline further. “Any unsustainable intensification of forest harvesting for bioenergy purposes should be avoided,” the EU executive warned, saying “the use of whole trees and food and feed crops for energy production – produced in the EU or imported – should be minimised” in order to limit the impact on climate and biodiversity. Bioenergy producers dispute this, saying “active forest management” practices “will optimise the carbon flow” and promote carbon sinks in addition to providing much-needed jobs and economic activity for rural areas. “It is important to stress that bioenergy is not a driving force of forest harvesting,” said Bioenergy Europe, a trade association. In fact, forest cover in the EU increased by 5.8% in 1995-2015 while bioenergy consumption “more than doubled” during the same period, it points out. “The increase in bioenergy has been possible thanks to a better use of residues from the forest-based industries and increased synergies with the wood-based industry,” said Jean-Marc Jossart, secretary-general of Bioenergy Europe.

Importantly, Jossart said a distinction should be made between “carbon sinks” – the capacity of forests to capture carbon – and the “carbon stock”, which is the total amount of carbon stored in the forest at a certain moment in time. “A forest management based on maximising the carbon stock will not deliver efficiently against climate change because of maturation of trees and carbon losses” due to fires and insects, which are becoming more frequent because of climate change, he argued. In reality, “a better managed forest reduces the risks of forest fires as there will be less dead wood on the ground helping the propagation of fire,” Jossart told EURACTIV in emailed comments, saying landowners need to be incentivised to take care of their land. “Planting, thinning, harvesting and replanting are part of virtuous operations of climate-friendly forests, as well as taking infected trees out of the forests,” he said. 

The Commission doesn’t deny this, saying “the promotion of sustainable forest management” combined with strict enforcement of EU green criteria for biomass will help make the sector more sustainable. But it wants guarantees that biomass used in Europe is genuinely sustainable. Although it keeps the door open to bioenergies in general, the Commission’s 2030 climate plan says “a shift towards growing woody biomass,” and “advanced biogas and biofuels could alleviate the situation” and help restore healthy forests. “Bioenergy production should come from better use of biomass wastes and residues and sustainable cultivation of energy crops, rather replacing the production of first-generation food-crop-based biofuels,” the EU executive says. If those solutions are implemented swiftly in the coming years, “this could already reverse the current trend of a diminishing EU land carbon sink by 2030, increasing it again to levels above 300 million tons CO2eq,” it adds.

By the end of the year, the Commission is expected to publish an extensive review of biomass policies. And much of the debate from now on is expected to focus on the incentives that are needed to support sustainable forestry practices and carbon removals.

“Definitely, we want to recognise the removals that are being done in agriculture and forestry more strongly than what we did in the past,” said a senior EU official who was briefing journalists after the Commission presented its 2030 climate plan last week.

“That will require incentives for those who are responsible – and that’s the farmers and the foresters,” the official said.

In Germany, the government is currently debating a “tree premium” of €125 per hectare as a way to reward forest owners for reducing carbon emissions. The premiums would be linked to the EU carbon market, meaning that if CO2 prices rise, the tree premium would also increase.

Another option is to bring agriculture under an EU regulation dealing with land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF).

“For somebody who is responsible for agriculture and forestry, it’s probably much easier to handle that as a policy field and to make the right trade-offs within the sector,” the official explained, saying any EU proposal on the matter would need to be backed by a cost-benefit analysis and fall in line with the Common Agricultural Policy.

For the bioenergy sector, incentives are fine as long as they allow foresters to “actively manage their forests through planting, thinning, harvesting and replanting”.

“If conversely, these subsidies are there to leave the forests untouched, this will have the adverse effects of reducing their resilience,” it argues.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Regenerative Agriculture

The theory is simple: Combine trees or woody shrubs and pasture grasses to foster greater livestock yields. Sound too good to be true? In a five-year study of intensive silvopasture in which trees were incorporated with grasses and Leucaena leucocephala, the rate of carbon sequestration was roughly three tons per acre, a high rate for any land use.

Farmers in Croatia will have the opportunity to see first hand a project which seeks to demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of combining trees, forage crops and livestock. Through new plantings and thinning of existing woodlands, CCRES will show three stages in the development of a silvopastoral system. Starting at year 2016, trees were planted o­n an existing mature pasture. Tube shelters protect the trees from animal damage and improve growing conditions. In this silvopastoral system, pasture crops will provide short term income while tree crops of different rotation lengths will yield medium and long term returns. Nitrogen-fixing forage species, pasture fertilization and animal manure all help improve the soil and tree nutrition. Grazing controls competing brushy species and reduces fire hazard. Trees create a sheltered microclimate to protect animals from heat and cold. Shelter also improves forage quality and lengthens its growing season.

One visible effect of including trees in pastures is the shady haven which they provide for livestock o­n hot summer days. The benefits of providing protection from the hot rays of the summer sun are obvious. It easily follows that animals, which are unable to shelter from the direct sun during the heat of the day, will have to expend energy to deal with their discomfort and/or reduce their feeding activity. Their productivity should decline in proportion to the time spent under these unfavorable conditions. Increased livestock production during hot weather is promoted by CCRES as o­ne of the benefits of having trees. However, there is very little published research available to either verify or disprove this widely held belief.

The prunings of some trees can also be used as fodder, e.g. poplar. The result is better livestock growth. Birds can use conifer trees as perches. From the tops of tree rows, they can easily survey the pasture alleys for insects, worms, and other food items.

Careful observation of animals behavior is necessary to detect and correct potential problems with browsing or rubbing of trees.

In summary, our experience is that silvopastures planted in rows are far superior for livestock production than are either grid or cluster plantings. Trees planted in rows with wide open spaces for pasture production between them, support high forage production and facilitate agricultural operations and animal herding. The large amount of edge created and maintained long into the timber rotation tends to maintain high biodiversity. Electric fencing or individual tree guards may be necessary to protect trees if animals are introduced when they are still small. Fencing is also used in rotational grazing methods to better control forage consumption. Throughout the duration of the CCRES project at CCRES Research facility, Zeljko Serdar and others will monitor tree growth, crop and animal yields, fuel use and soil fertility. The practical results of the project will be shared with other farmers, both through o­n-site field days and educational displays at other meetings.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Chestnut permaculture plantation

Castanea sativa – sweet chestnut.
Sweet chestnuts are permaculture trees. They can be coppiced, providing sustainable timber for fencing and building whilst also being a food source. Their nuts can be eaten roasted, raw or even turned into flour! Zeljko Serdar shares his thoughts for this multipurpose tree.
If you are wondering how to grow chestnut trees, the most important consideration is soil. All chestnut tree types require well-drained soil to thrive. They can grow in partially clay soil if the land is on a slope, but they will grow best in deep, sandy soils. Be sure your soil is acidic before growing chestnut trees. If you aren’t sure, get the pH tested. You need a pH of between 4.5 and 6.5.
If you read up on chestnut tree information, you’ll find that growing chestnut trees is not difficult if they are planted in an appropriate site. When planted on good, deep soil, the trees are very drought tolerant when established. Young seedlings require regular irrigation. If you are growing chestnut trees for the nut production, however, you’ll need to provide more chestnut tree care. The only way you can be sure of getting abundant, large-sized nuts is if you water the trees regularly throughout the growing season. Most chestnut tree types only begin to produce nuts after they are three to 7 years old. Still, keep in mind that some chestnut tree types can live up to 800 years.
Chestnut trees are attractive, with reddish-brown or grey bark, smooth when the trees are young, but furrowed with age. The leaves are a fresh green, darker on the top than the bottom. They are oval or lance-shaped and edged by widely separated teeth. The flowers of the chestnut tree are long, drooping catkins that appear on the trees in spring. Each tree bears both male and female flowers, but they cannot self-pollinate. The potent fragrance of the flowers attracts insect pollinators.
Analysis of chestnut flour:
Moisture – 14.0%
Oil and fat – 2.0%
Proteins – 8.5%
Starch – 29.2%
Dextrin and soluble starch – 22.9%
Sugar – 17.5%
Ash – 2.6%
Cellulose – 3.3%
Any plant that can be planted and then , once established , is productive, especially as food, and requires little or no inputs, qualifies as a Permaculture favorite.
More info:
Zeljko Serdar, CCRES Team

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Clean Energy Transition 2020.

Over a fifth of Europe’s energy was generated by solar panels and wind turbines in the first half of 2020. Solar and wind energy generation was higher in some European countries. Denmark came out on top, generating 64 per cent of its energy from these renewable sources, closely followed by Ireland (49 per cent) and Germany (42 per cent), according to the report from independent climate think-tank Ember. In a half-year review released in July by the think tank, all renewables - including wind, solar, hydroelectricity and bioenergy - were found to have exceeded fossil fuel generation for the first time ever. They produced 40 per cent of the EU’s power from January to June with fossil fuels contributing 34 per cent.

This report shows evidence that wind and solar have quickly increased to become a major source of electricity in most countries in the world, and are successfully reducing coal burn throughout the world.

Main findings:

Wind and solar generation rose 14% in the first half of this year (H1-2020) compared to H1-2019, generating almost a tenth (9.8%) of global electricity. In the 48 countries analysed, wind and solar generation rose from 992 terawatt hours in 2019 to 1,129 terawatt hours in H1-2020. That meant wind and solar’s share of global electricity has risen from 8.1% in 2019 to 9.8% in H1-2020; and their share more than doubled from 4.6% in 2015, when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed. Wind and solar generated almost as much CO2-free power as nuclear power plants, which generated 10.5% of global electricity in H1-2020 and whose share remained unchanged from 2019.

Many key countries now generate around a tenth of their electricity from wind and solar: China (10%), the US (12%), India (10%), Japan (10%), Brazil (10%) and Turkey (13%). The EU and UK were substantially higher with 21% and 33% respectively; within the EU, Germany rose to 42%. Russia is the largest country so far to shun wind and solar, with just 0.2% of its electricity from wind and solar.

Global coal generation fell 8.3% in the first half of 2020, compared to H1-2019. This breaks a new record, following on from a year-on-year fall of 3% in 2019, which at the time was the biggest fall since at least 1990. The fall in H1-2020 is because electricity demand fell globally by 3.0% in H1-2020 due to COVID-19, as well as due to rising wind and solar. Although 70% of coal’s fall in H1-2020 can be attributed to lower electricity demand due to COVID-19, 30% can be attributed to increased wind and solar generation. The US and the EU are racing to reduce coal, with falls of 31% and 32% respectively. China’s coal fell only 2%, meaning its share of global coal generation rose to 54% so far this year, up from 50% in 2019 and 44% in 2015.

Wind and solar have captured a five percentage points market share from coal since 2015. Coal’s share fell from 37.9% in 2015 to 33.0% in the first half of 2020, as wind and solar grew from 4.6% to 9.8%. India’s change was even more dramatic: wind and solar’s share rose from 3% of total generation in 2015 to 10% in the first half of 2020; at the same time, coal’s share fell from 77% to 68%. For the first time, the world’s coal fleet ran at less than half of its capacity this year.

The global electricity transition is off-track for 1.5 degrees. Coal needs to fall by 13% every year this decade, and even in the face of a global pandemic coal generation has only reduced 8% in the first half of 2020. The IPCC’s 1.5 degree scenarios show coal needs to fall to just 6% of global generation by 2030, from 33% in H1-2020. The IPCC shows in all scenarios most of coal’s replacement is with wind and solar.

Wind and solar generation rose 14% in the first half of 2020 (H1-2020), compared to the first half of 2019. In the 48 countries analysed, wind and solar generation rose from 992 terawatt hours to 1,129 terawatt hours. Solar generation rose by 19% and wind generation rose by 11%. Although solar generation is catching up with wind generation, wind generation was still twice the level of solar generation in the countries analysed.

Wind and solar generated almost a tenth (9.8%) of global electricity in H1-2020. Global wind and solar generation was at 9.8% in the first half of 2020, up from 8.1% in 2019. This was calculated globally by scaling up 2019 for every country in the world by the 14% growth rate observed in the 48 countries analysed in this report. That means wind and solar generated almost as much CO2-free power as nuclear power plants, which generated 10.5% of global electricity in H1-2020.

Major countries across the world all had a similar level of wind and solar generation, in line with the global average: China 9.8%, the US 12.0%, India 9.7%, Japan 9.6%, Brazil 10.4% and Turkey 12.6%. The European Union was substantially higher, with 21.4%, the UK was at 33.2%, and Australia was also above-average. Within the EU, Germany rose to 42%. Russia (0.2%) is the largest country to so far shun wind and solar. Canada and South Korea stood out as having low levels of wind and solar share, at 5.3% and 4.0% respectively in H1-2020.

Wind and solar have doubled their share of global electricity generation since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015. They rose five percentage points, from 4.6% to 9.8%. Most large countries more than doubled their market share from 2015 to H1-2020: coincidentally China, Japan and Brazil all increased from 4% to 10%; the US from 6% to 12%. India’s almost trebled from 3.4% in 2015 to 9.7% in H1-2020.

But other countries are lagging behind the global average: Canada’s share has barely changed since 2015. South Korea’s share has been increasing, but at 4.0% is still less than half the global average, and Vietnam is making up for lost time increasing from 0.2% in 2018 to 6.4% in the first half of 2020. 

However, although wind and solar growth is high, it is not accelerating. IRENA data shows that the amount of wind and solar capacity installed in 2019 rose only 7%, and in 2018 rose only 5%. And the IEA estimates that renewable capacity growth in 2020 will fall by 13% due to the impact of COVID-19, compared to 2019. The year-on-year additions are helping to reshape the global electricity mix, but the rate of wind and solar deployed every year is not rapidly accelerating. 

 Wind and solar have captured five percentage points in market share from coal. Coal’s share of global generation has fallen from 37.9% in 2015 to 33.0% in the first half of 2020. That fall of five percentage points has effectively been replaced by wind and solar, whose share rose from 4.6% to 9.8% in the first half of 2020. 

That’s a trend that happened across the world. For example, China’s coal share has fallen by 7 percentage points as wind and solar increased by 6 percentage points. 

Most remarkable is perhaps India, where wind and solar’s market share has risen from 3% of its total generation in 2015 to 10% in the first half of 2020; at the same time, coal’s share fell from 77% to 68%. Even in Vietnam, where coal has risen, wind and solar have risen six percentage points in just two years, thus reducing the pace of coal growth, and further weakening the case to build new coal power plants.

There are nuances, of course. In China, rapidly rising electricity demand means that although coal’s share has fallen from 68% in 2015 to 62% in the first half of 2020, its absolute level of generation actually rose by 17% from 2015 to 2019. The US has replaced coal with gas more than with wind and solar: as coal’s market share reduced by 17%, the share of gas increased 9% from 33% to 42% from 2015 to H1-2020, and wind and solar increased 6% from 6% to 12%.

So how far are countries into the transition? Well, much depends on where they started from. Most countries in Asia have a very large share of their electricity coming from coal, therefore, they have the most work to do.

Unfortunately, this rapid change isn’t enough to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. The IPCC published scenarios on how to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Carbon Brief’s analysis of the IPCC scenarios shows unabated coal use needs to fall by about 79% by 2030 from 2019 – a fall of 13% every year throughout the 2020s. 

Climate Analytics analysis is consistent, showing that coal needs to fall to just 6% share of global electricity generation; it was 33% in H1-2020. All 1.5-degree compatible IPCC scenarios show most of coal’s fall needs to be replaced with wind and solar generation. The median of the scenarios show wind and solar reaching a 28% share by 2030. 

It’s clear that even with the rapid trajectory from coal to wind and solar over the last five years, progress is so far insufficient to limit coal generation in line with 1.5 degree scenarios.

The drop in electricity demand due to COVID-19 barely impacted wind and solar generation in the first half of 2020. That’s because wind and solar generation is lagged compared to when wind and solar are actually built; most of the rise in the first half of this year came from new wind and solar built last year. However, COVID-19 has impacted the rate of new wind and solar installed in 2020; a forecast by the IEA shows it will fall 13% in 2020 to its lowest level since 2015. Stimulus packages focusing on a clean transition can help that bounce back, but if stimulus is not forthcoming, wind and solar will struggle to achieve the levels of growth required this decade to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

The disruption caused by COVID-19 severely impacted electricity demand, pushing down global electricity demand by around 3.0%. It was also particularly mild in the winter months of 2020 in many parts of the northern hemisphere, contributing to lower electricity demand. In H1-2020, demand was down in most countries – for example, 7% in the EU and 8% in India; the US fell only 4% as the COVID-19 impact was smaller, and China fell only about 1% due to large electricity demand growth in Q2-2020. The IEA has analysis on the falls by country throughout 2020 so far. 

Coal generation fell by 8.3% (-346 TWh). 30% of coal’s fall was due to increased wind and solar, and 70% was due to reduced electricity demand due to COVID-19. In the 48 countries examined, electricity demand fell by 311 TWh and wind and solar grew by 137 TWh, meaning conventional generation needed to fall by 448 TWh – that’s a split of 70% due to lower electricity demand and 30% due to increased wind and solar power. Of that 448 TWh fall in conventional generation, 346 TWh was from lower coal generation, although all other forms were also down. Other factors contributing to the fall in coal include an increase in Chinese nuclear generation and a pick up in gas generation in the US.

Gas fell 1.6% (-30 TWh). Gas generation also fell slightly due to COVID-19 reducing electricity demand. Gas generation increased significantly in the US as gas replaced coal. This was offset by a large fall in Russia due to a very early snowmelt season due to record warm temperatures, and a large fall in European countries where coal generation was already near zero and thus gas generation took the brunt of the fall in demand (in the UK, Spain and Italy). However, this analysis misses key gas-generating countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Egypt, because electricity data is not easily available, and therefore this global gas generation estimate has a higher error margin than the other fuel types.

Nuclear fell 3% (-39 TWh). COVID-19 severely impacted EDF’s nuclear output in France, as operational plants needed to close, and plants on maintenance needed to stay offline for longer. This was partly offset by the continued uptick in Chinese nuclear output as they continued to build new reactors.

Coal generation fell by 8.3% in the first half of 2020. Two-thirds of this was due to the large falls in the US of 31% and the European Union of 32%. India’s large fall of 14% happened even after a fall of 3% in 2019. China’s fall was one of the smallest at just 2%, due to strong electricity demand growth in Q2-2020. Vietnam increased, but the increase in coal generation was similar to the fall in hydro generation.

As the US and Europe reduce their coal use, China’s share of global coal generation continues to increase. The fall in coal generation in the US and EU means that their share of global coal generation has reduced from 23% in 2015 to 12% in H1-2020. Coal use in India and some other Asian countries is not increasing as some observers had expected. That means that China’s share of global coal generation rose to 54% so far this year, up from 50% in 2019 and 44% in 2015. 

For the first time, coal plants were needed for less than half the time. Coal generation has fallen by 9%, but coal capacity fell only 0.1%. That means utilisation of coal plants has fallen to 47% in the first half of 2020, from 51% utilisation in 2019. That’s the first time that coal plant utilisation has fallen below 50% over six months.

The fall in coal capacity in the first half of 2020 was the first time net global coal power plant capacity has fallen over six months. Global Energy Monitor (GEM) research showed that net coal capacity fell by 0.1% – by 2 gigawatts, against a total of 2047 gigawatts of operational coal plants. GEM showed that coal capacity rose in China, but fell in the rest of the world, meaning that China for the first time is home to over 50% of the world’s coal capacity. 

India coal plant utilisation fell as low as 42% in April and May, averaging 51% so far this year. With lower-than-expected demand for electricity, and wind and solar eating into coal’s market share, there is an increasing surplus of coal capacity. 


Data from China Electricity Council showed wind and solar generation grew by 10% in H1-2020 compared to the same period last year, a slower rate than the global average of 14% in H1-2020, so China’s share of wind and solar slipped from above-average to average. Wind and solar generation supplied 8.6% of China’s electricity in 2019, above the global average of 8.1%, but in H1-2020 both China and the global average were 9.8%.

Wind and solar are replacing coal’s share of the electricity mix – as the wind and solar share rose from 4% in 2015 to 10% in H1-2020, coal’s share has fallen from 68% to 62% – a change of six percentage points each. However, because China’s electricity demand has been rising so fast, even as coal’s share of electricity generation is dropping fast, its coal generation is not. Even with COVID-19, China’s Electricity Council predicted in July that electricity demand will return to rise 6% in the second half of this year. Hydro and nuclear generation are also growing, but they are struggling to even hold their market share against fast-increasing electricity demand. 

China’s share of global coal generation increased from 50% in 2019 to 54% in H1-2020. Thermal generation fell by 1.6% in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period last year, while the fall in coal generation was around 2%. Globally coal fell by 8% in H1-2020 compared to the same period last year, so a fall of just 2% means China is lagging as the world moves away from coal.

United States

The US seems to be in a race with the EU to ditch coal. Its coal generation fell 31% in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019) as the EU fell 32%. In 2019, US coal generation fell 16% year-on-year, versus the EU falling 24%. The US increased its wind and solar generation by 16% in H1-2020 compared to the same period last year, slightly above the global average of 14%. But the US gas bridge continues to grow, with gas generation up 7% in H1-2020 despite COVID-19. Gas’s share of US electricity generation has now risen from 33% in 2015 to 42% in H1-2020.

Europe (EU-27)

In July Ember published a European half year update, which showed renewables generation exceeded fossil generation for the first time, in the first half of this year. Wind and solar alone reached a record of 21% of Europe’s total electricity generation, and reached even higher penetration in Denmark (64%), Ireland (49%) and Germany (42%). That – alongside the fall in electricity demand from COVID-19 – meant coal generation fell 32% year-on-year, and even gas generation fell 6% as well. Since 2015, coal’s share has fallen from 24% to just 10%, whilst wind and solar’s share has risen from 13% to 21%. 


Wind and solar continue to grow in line with the global average, reducing India’s reliance on coal. Wind and solar generation grew by 13% in H1-2020 compared to the same period last year (in comparison to 14% growth globally), and that meant wind and solar generated 9.7% of India’s electricity (compared to 9.8% globally). Meanwhile, India’s coal generation fell 14% in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019). Coal’s share of India’s electricity has now fallen from 77% in 2015 to 68% in the first half of 2020, at the same time as wind and solar rose from 3.4% to 9.7%.


A large fall of 13% in thermal generation in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019) was due to a one-off factor, rather than as part of the transition like in other countries. It was due to a 4% decrease in electricity demand and record hydro generation due to an early and aggressive snowmelt season. Wind and solar showed growth from a near-zero start, contributing 0.2% of Russia’s total generation, one of the lowest rates in the world.


Wind and solar generation in Japan increased by only 9% in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019), in comparison to the global average of 14% growth. That meant the proportion of Japan’s electricity from wind and solar fell from above the global average in 2019, to below the global average in H1-2020. Wind and solar generation supplied 8.6% of Japan’s electricity in 2019, above the global average of 8.1%, but in H1-2020 Japan increased to only 9.6% as the global average increased to 9.8%.


Canada’s wind generation actually fell 5% in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019), presumably due to lower wind speeds. The installed wind capacity in Canada has increased only from 11.2 gigawatts in 2015 to 13.4 gigawatts by the end of 2019. So whilst wind and solar power have almost doubled globally (from 4.6% of global generation in 2015 to 9.8% in H1-2020), Canada’s share of electricity from wind and solar has barely budged, increasing from 4.5% in 2015 to 5.3% in H1-2020. Consequently neither coal nor gas have changed since 2015, still at 9% of the share each.


Thermal generation rose by 38% in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019) to fill the gap left by low hydro generation in 2020. Electricity demand fell by 5% in H1-2020 (compared to H1-2019), which moderated the rise in thermal generation. Brazil’s wind and solar share is 10%, in line with the global average.

South Korea

The share of wind and solar was 3.6%, almost two-thirds lower than the global average. But wind and solar generation increased by 26% from H1-2019 to H1-2020, twice the average global growth rate, so it is slowly closing the gap albeit from a slow start. Coal generation fell 7%/7TWh, as electricity demand fell 2%/5TWh during H1-2020 compared to the same period last year.

United Kingdom

The UK saw its wind and solar share extend to one of the highest rates in the world, 33%. Also it’s one of the few countries (alongside Spain and Italy), where wind and solar are significantly reducing gas generation, now that coal generation is already mostly phased out. 


Wind and solar generation increased by 12% from H1-2019 to H1-2020, increasing wind and solar generation to 12.6% of Turkey’s electricity, against a global average of 9.8%. Lower electricity demand (-4%/-6TWh) almost completely offset the fall in hydro generation (-12%/-7TWh), leaving coal and gas generation mostly unchanged. This has reduced Turkey’s need for new coal power plants.


Vietnam recorded probably the largest increase in solar generation of any country in H1-2020, rising 5.35 times compared to H1-2019. Vietnam is making up for lost time increasing its share of wind and solar from 0.2% of its electricity mix in 2018 to 6.4% in the first half of 2020. Coal generation rose, but this was mainly to cover a fall in hydro generation. Wind and solar are clearly weakening the case to build new coal power plants.

This report includes data to end-June 2020, except for South Korea, Chinese Taipei and Japan, where assumptions are made for June which isn’t yet published, and Canada for May and June. United States data for June 2020 has been estimated using hourly data for the lower-48 states. The biggest countries missing from this analysis are Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Iran, Indonesia, and South Africa, for which timely sources of monthly generation data do not exist. This global view scales up 2019 generation into H1-2020 for the changes observed in the 48 countries.

Press coverage highlights:

Monday, August 31, 2020

Aronia harvest time 2020.

Aronia or Chokeberry plants. There has been a lot of research and breeding going on with the Aronia plants commonly known as Black Chokeberry.  Maybe Chokeberry doesn’t sound so attractive, so some like to call them Black Appleberries.

See, the thing about these deep dark berries is that they help to eliminate inflammation in the body and the antioxidant levels are more than 340% higher than blueberries! 

These deep dark fruits are so easy to grow on super hardy bushes that produce many pounds of fruit each year.  They beauty of Aronia berries is they all ripen at the same time so they can all be harvested now before they begin to shrivel.  They must be pulled from the bushes.  They look like Blueberries in size and similar in color.

If you are looking for a super easy super fruit to grow, you’ll want to consider growing an aronia berry bush. This little-known berry bush offers double pleasure. It is grown for its beauty as an ornamental. With deep green foliage as the backdrop for its pretty white flowers in the spring, and with the contrast of its deep purple berries nestled into its red-orange leaves in the fall, it offers year-round enjoyment. And its edible berries are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and phytonutrients.

Like a persimmon, the aronia berry will sweeten up after a freeze. Many gardeners enjoy the aronia as a berry for juicing, for baking, and for jellies. You will have to be the judge of whether their flavor is right for you. Even if the use of the berry isn’t of importance to you, you will enjoy a lovely bush and birds will feast on these berries during the cold of winter.

Aronia berry bushes (Aronia melanocarpa) are native to North America, and they are suitable to plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. The aronia plant was introduced to Russia and to Eastern Europe in the early 1900s where they gained popularity. There are thousands of acres of aronia growing in Europe today. Here in the CCRES fields aronia is growing in favor for its nutritional value.

Aronia berries are somewhat astringent and taste somewhat like a dry red wine.  They are more palatable when you know the health benefits because you know they are great for you… but you may want to use the fruits in smoothies, for baking or for juice or juice blends.

Pick and freeze the fruits and use as you like throughout the year. Zeljko Serdar, CCRES

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Public Call for the citizens - Energy renovation of family houses

The Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency is preparing to receive applications for energy renovation of family homes under an HRK 203 million scheme, and individual grants are capped at a maximum of 204,000 kuna.

The ministry of physical planning and construction said in a report published on its website on Wednesday that after the government in mid-May amended the programme for the energy renovation of family homes, the fund published a public call for applications for funding under the HRK 203 million scheme.

Applications can be submitted as of 1 September.

“The aim of the programme is to encourage the implementation of energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energy sources in family houses. That will lead to a reduction of energy required for heating and cooling in residential buildings, and will consequently increase savings in energy and finances and improve the quality of living,” the ministry says.

Family homes account for two-thirds of the country’s housing stock

The ministry underlines that family homes account to 65% of the country’s housing stock, and their energy consumption accounts for 40% of total energy consumption at the national level.

The majority of family homes were built before 1987 and when assessed for their energy efficiency, they were rated in category E for energy performance certificates (EPCs). These constructions consume 70% of energy for heating, cooling, and hot water. According to some estimates, their energy consumption can be reduced by 60%.

The scheme will provide funds for the insulation of external walls, ceilings, and floors, replacement of windows and doors, etc.

Under the scheme, eligible applicants can count on grants to cover 60% of the costs of energy renovation, with grants capped at 204,000 kuna (€27,200).

Croatians at risk of energy poverty will also be eligible to receive assistance to cover 100% of the approved project costs, and 32 million kuna has been set aside for this purpose under the scheme. Social welfare workers and energy assessors will assist citizens concerned to prepare their applications for full coverage of their energy renovation costs.

Energy efficiency in the building sector

The building design and construction sector (i.e. the building sector) accounts for around 40% of the total energy consumption, so energy efficiency of buildings, which means providing minimum energy consumption in order to achieve the optimum comfort of living and use of the building, is very important. Energy consumption of a building depends on its characteristics (shape and structural materials), installed energy systems (heating system, cooling system, ventilation, electrical devices and lighting used), as well as climatic conditions of the region where it is located.

In general, buildings in Croatia were built before 1987 and as such they do not have adequate thermal protection. As many as 83% of the buildings do not satisfy even the 1987 technical regulations, they have high heat losses with the average energy consumption ranging from 150 to 200 kWh/m2, which classifies them in energy efficiency class E! Increased energy consumption implies higher emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere and it is, therefore, essential to implement the required measures in order to reduce excessive consumption and streamline the utilisation of available energy generating products.

Energy performance of buildings comprises a number of different options for saving thermal energy and electricity, with more rational use of fossil fuels and application of renewable energy sources (RES) in buildings, wherever it is functionally feasible and economically justified. Thermal protection of buildings is one of the key aspects because of its high energy savings potential. By improving thermal insulation of the building, it is possible to reduce the total heat losses of the building from 30% to 60% on average.

Energy efficiency measures in the building sector:

Energy audit of the building and energy performance certificate (EPC) which shows the energy efficiency class of the whole building or part of the building;

Increasing thermal protection of the building (installing heat insulation and energy efficient windows and doors);

Increasing performance of the heating, cooling and ventilation systems;

Increasing performance of the lighting systems and electrical equipment;

Use of renewable energy sources.

The implementation of the measures for increasing energy efficiency in the building sector will result in lower energy consumption of the building and, at the same time, better comfort of living and performance of the building. The preference of measures depends on the energy performance and type of building, its purpose and location, and the best option would be to implement several measures ensuring their synergistic effect and to achieve more notable energy savings.

The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund is implementing energy retrofit programmes that were adopted by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, and it is co-financing energy efficiency measures in buildings, with a view to reducing the consumption of energy at national level and reducing CO2 emissions.

Building retrofit (renovation) programmes were adopted for different types of buildings, and they are implemented accordingly:

The implementation of the measures for increasing energy efficiency in the building sector will result in lower energy consumption of the building and, at the same time, better comfort of living and performance of the building. The preference of measures depends on the energy performance and type of building, its purpose and location, and the best option would be to implement several measures ensuring their synergistic effect and to achieve more notable energy savings.

The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund is implementing energy retrofit programmes that were adopted by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, and it is co-financing energy efficiency measures in buildings, with a view to reducing the consumption of energy at national level and reducing CO2 emissions.

Building retrofit (renovation) programmes were adopted for different types of buildings, and they are implemented accordingly:

Programme of energy renovation of family houses

Programme of energy renovation of multi-residential buildings

Programme of energy renovation of non-residential commercial buildings

Programmes of energy renovation of public buildings

Measures aimed to achieve energy savings in households represent one of significant guidelines of both European and Croatian energy policy, in accordance with the Energy Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia, and the current Third National Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

Energy renovation of family houses


The Government of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning, and the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, adopted on 27 March 2014 the Programme of energy renovation of family houses, which is implemented by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund. The goal of the Programme is to increase energy efficiency of the existing houses, to reduce energy consumption and emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere, and to reduce the monthly costs for the energy generating products, with the overall improvement of the quality of living. At the same time, the planning of such interventions implies the engagement of the local companies and experts, meaning it promotes economic activities. The first Amendments to the Programme were adopted in 2015, and the Second amendments in 2020. 

After the adoption of the Amendments to the Programme, the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund will continue with the national financing of the Programme of energy renovation of family houses in 2020. On 25 June 2020, the Public Call was invited for the citizens (co)owners of the existing family houses falling in the minimum energy category (according to QH,nd) D or below in the continental part of Croatia, or in the energy category C or below in the coastal part of Croatia.

For the purposes of this Programme, a family house is a building:

  • where more than 50% of the gross surface area is used for dwelling, and
  • which complies with one of these two requirements: has no more than three residential units, and has the gross construction surface area less or equal to 600 m2.

With up to 60% of grant funding, the citizens will be able to get co-financing to increase thermal protection of all elements of the building envelope of the conditioned area: energy renovation of the exterior wall, ceiling, floor, roof (all the required equipment and works related to improving thermal protection, including, for example, waterproofing, replacement of the structural elements of the roof, etc. – the details will be stipulated in the public call); the replacement of the windows and doors in the envelope of the conditioned area, and a comprehensive energy renovation, which implies a combination of measures on the building envelope and installation of RES systems (systems using solar thermal converters, systems using wood chippings/pellets, air-to-water, water-to-water or ground-to-water heat pumps, and photovoltaic systems for the production of electricity for own consumption).

Detailed technical requirements have been set out in the text of the Public Call, as well as the contents of the application documentation. A person can apply to the Public Call using the e-Application system for the Fund’s public calls (they have to register and create a user account first), which must contain the following:

  • The main application data (to be filled in online in the e-Application system for the Fund’s public calls)
  • Copy of the ID on both sides or the electronic records of residence (the e-Citizens system) or the certificate of residence
  • The latest valid proof of legality of the family house pursuant to the Building Act
  • The Statement form filled out by the applicant and the Statement filled out by other co-owners (link)
  • If the house is part of the listed cultural and historical whole, it requires the approval of the competent state administration body responsible for the protection of cultural and natural monuments
  • Proof of ownership or co-ownership (land registry certificate in which the recorded owner is the person applying for the renovation, and it is not necessary for the house subject to energy renovation is recorded in it;  or certificate from the court, where the land register has been destroyed or are not available, that they have either been destroyed or are not available and the Title deed from the local cadastral office)
  • If the numbers of land plots un he proof of legality and the proof of ownership differ, the certificate has to be obtained from the competent cadastral office stating that the land plots are equivalent
  • A detailed estimate of the contractor for the implementation of the measures specified in the report on energy audit, proving these measures will meet the technical requirements stipulated in the public call
  • Photo documentation of the as-is situation
  • The report on energy audit and the energy performance certificate (not older than 13 November 2012, which is eligible if there were no energy renovation measures implemented on the house, otherwise a new energy performance certificate has to be issued after implementing the measures)
  • In the case of installation of the photovoltaic systems, the main design is required, pursuant to the Ordinance on simple and other buildings and works (Official Gazette 112/17, 34/18, 36/19, and 98/19).

The submission of the applications to the Public Call will start on 1 September 2020 (Tuesday) at 9:00.

Until this date, the citizens have to create and activate their user accounts in the e-Application system for the Fund’s public calls, and they will have the option to fill out the application form and upload the required documentation. (The “Apply” button will not become active until 1 September at 9:00.)

More information about the Public Call for the citizens can be obtained by e-mail at:

After the applications have been processed, the successful applicants granted the Fund’s resources will receive the Decision and Contract on co-financing. The beneficiaries will then have the period of 24 months from the date of signing the contract to implement energy renovation and submit the documentation required for the payment of the granted funding.

Of the total amount of HRK 203 million allocated for the energy renovation of family houses, HRK 32 million has been earmarked for the financing of energy renovation of family houses for the citizens at risk of energy poverty. Under the social criteria, set out in the Amendments to the Programme, which the Croatian Government adopted in May at the initiative of the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning, social welfare centres will coordinate certified energy auditors to help in the application process to the citizens most at risk. The envisaged energy renovation measures and the cost of energy auditors for this group of citizens will be fully financed by the Fund.

Public Call for the citizens at risk of energy poverty    

More information about this part of the Programme can by obtained by e-mail at

Dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection.Working to harvest this knowledge. The pioneering experience of corporations, governments and financiers will be captured, analyzed and made available for others to learn from. Zeljko Serdar, CCRES

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Pitomi kesten - uzgoj


Pitomi kesten

Kesten je jednodomna biljka, pri kojoj se na istom stablu nalaze razdvojeni muški i ženski cvjetovi. Ženski cvjetovi združeni su po 2 - 3 u grozdove i nalaze se na kraju listnih izdanaka. Muški cvjetovi združeni su u kitice (dihazije, mačice) i razvijaju se pri osnovi ljetnih izdanaka. Kesten cvate u lipnju i srpnju. Oprašivanje vrše vjetar i kukci (pčele). Važno je da se posade razne sorte kestena radi međusobnog oprašivanja. Plod je crvenkasto-smeđe boje i glatke površine. Raste unutar bodljikave košuljice koja se raspukne u jesen kada plod sazrije. Listanje kestena započinje u travnju. Listovi su duguljasti, krupno nazubljeni, 8 - 18 cm dugi i 3 - 6 cm široki, na licu goli, a na naličju dlakavi.
Drvo kestena je u srodstvu s bukvom i hrastom, dugovječno, može narasti u visinu do 25 m s bujnom, velikom krošnjom i godišnje dati preko 200 kg plodova. Kora mu je glatka i sivosmeđa. Može doseći starost preko 500 godina. Botaničari kesten ubrajaju u voćke, no zbog načina i mjesta rasta spada i u šumsko drveće. Mjestimično čini i šume, a često se javlja u zajednici s hrastom kitnjakom i grabom.

Agroekološki uvjeti za podizanje nasada kestena

Pitomi kesten je voćka toplih krajeva i pripada grupi heliofilnih biljaka kojima je potrebno puno svjetlosti. Pitomom kestenu najviše odgovara mediteranska i umjereno-kontinentalna klima sa srednjom godišnjom temperaturom od 11 - 15 °C. Uspješna proizvodnja moguća je na temperaturama do 37 °C i -26 °C jer temperature veće od 37 °C i manje od 26 °C onemogućavaju plodonošenje.

Voda je od izuzetne važnosti u periodu razvijanja cvjetnih pupoljaka, cvjetanja, zametanja plodova i njihovog porasta. Za dobar rast i razvoj cjelokupnog debla potrebno je provođenje navodnjavanja tijekom uzgoja. U periodu sađenja, mladicama treba osigurati najmanje 60 l vode raspoređeno na tri dijela po 20 l.

Izbjegava se vapno i vapneni dodatci jer na takvim mjestima kesten slabije uspijeva. Vrlo je važno da tlo bude dobro strukturirano i duboko tako da se u njemu može razvijati kestenov snažan korijen. Najpogodnija su ilovasto-pjeskovita zemljišta u kojima je odnos gline prema pjesku 60:40 i pH vrijednost se kreće od 4,0 do 6,0.

Agrotehnika pri podizanju nasada kestena

Priprema tla za sadnju
Iako je kesten šumska biljka, dobro reagira na gnojenje dušikom, a može mu se dodati i nešto fosfora i kalija. Teren se čisti od krupnog kamenja, panjeva, žila ostalog drveća i žbunja. Tlo se zatim ravna kako bi se obavila gnojidba, oranje i sadnja. Ukoliko je teren na kojem se planira podizanje nasada pitomog kestena suviše strmo, potrebno je napraviti terase. Poslije pripreme tla za sadnju obavlja se rigolanje na 60 - 80 cm dubine.

U periodu starosti, ako se mjerama rezidbe pitomi kesten pomlađuje, potrebno je gnojiti dušičnim gnojivima da bi se što bolje i više razvile mladice na kojima se razvijaju cvjetovi i plodovi. U periodu pune rodnosti, da bi se ostvario prinos od 10 000 kg/ha potrebo je u tlo aplicirati 135 kg/ha dušika, 40 kg/ha fosfora i 150 kg/ha kalija. Radi održavanja humusa u tlu na najmanje 3 %, treba svake godine u jesen zaorati po 10 000 kg/ha stajnjaka.

Održavanje nasada
Vrši se međuredna kultivacija. Zemljište se obavezno praši, tj. usitnjava sloj zemlje na dubini 5 - 7 cm. Usitnjavanje se vrši i poslije navodnjavanja, kako se ne bi stvorila pokorica i na taj način brzo gubila vlaga. Zemljište u nasadu pitomog kestena se u toku ljeta obrađuje uglavnom do kraja srpnja, što zavisi od učestalosti i obilnosti kiša. Zemljište od polovice kolovoza ne bi trebalo obrađivati jer bi se stvorili uvjeti za produžetak vegetacije i stabla kestena bi u period mirovanja ušla sa nesazrelim mladicama koje bi zbog mraza mogle izmrznuti. Kesten se orezuje kada je u fazi mirovanja i to uglavnom u svrhu pomlađivanja, tj. uklanjanja starih grana.

Proizvodnja sadnica
Sadnice pitomog kestena proizvode se generativno (sjetvom plodova u kojima se nalazi jedan ili više sjemenih zametaka) i vegetativno (izdancima i kalemljenjem). Obavljaju se operacije odabiranja, stratifikacije, zasnivanje rastila (priprema zemljišta za sadnju i njegu podloga), kalemljenje, uzgoj sadnica, vađenje, trapljenje, pakovanje i prijevoz sadnica.
Prije sadnje na stalno mjesto, žile na sadnicama se prorjeđuju i skrate za 1/3. Potapaju se u homogenu smjesu napravljenu od goveđeg gnoja, ilovače i vode.

Izbor položaja za podizanje nasada kestena

Najprimjereniji položaj za kesten je položaj koji je osvjetljen i s kojega voda dobro otječe, s rahlim tlom bogatim humusom, i što je važno, blago kiselim. Takvi su južni, jugoistočni i istočni položaji.

Izbor uzgojnog oblika kestena

Kesten se uzgaja u piramidnu ili kotlastu krošnju. Orezivanje je ograničeno na najnužnije zahvate, a obuhvaća čišćenje krošnje i usmjeravanje grana. Sve rane nastale orezivanjem potrebno je premazati voskom za cijepljenje.

Vrijeme i tehnika sadnje kestena

Prilikom sadnje, sadne jame moraju biti nešto veće (70 - 80 ili 100 cm dubine). Potrebno je osigurati dovoljnu količinu humusa. Zemlji kojom se zatrpava jama oko sadnice treba dodati 2 kg kompleksnih mineralnih gnojiva (NPK 0:15:30). Razmak sadnje mora omogućiti dovoljno širok hranjivi prostor i maksimalan razvoj krošnje te što lakše kretanje mehanizacije. Najbolji rezultati i najviše sadnica se posadi ako se sadi po principu jednakostraničnog trokuta.
Kada se sadi u jesen, što je i najpogodnije, sadnica se ne zalijeva, već se oko nje nabaci zemlja u vidu humka (visine 15 cm) i tako ostavi do proljeća. Na isti se način vrši sađenje i u toku zime. Ako se sadi u proljeće, oko svake sadnice napravi se ljevkasto udubljenje i zalije s 8 - 10 l vode. Kada zemlja upije vodu, udubljenje treba prekriti sitnom zemljom ili zrelim stajskim gnojem u sloju od 4 - 5 cm.

Berba i skladištenje kestena

U rujnu, kada plodovi zore, mogu se lako otresti, ili se pak pusti da sami popadaju s drveta. Ljuštenje plodova iz ježinaca koji su pali na tlo, pospješuje se tako da se ježinci pograbljaju na hrpu i tako ostave nekoliko dana. Plodovi nakon nekoliko dana dodatnog zorenja sami ispadaju iz ježinaca i tada su i ukusniji.
Plodovi kestena pohranjuju se u spremišta ili skladišta pri 80 % relativne vlažnosti zraka i pri temperaturi od 0 °C. U takvim uvjetima plodovi mogu izdržati dva do tri mjeseca.

 Troškovi osnivanja nasada

Za 1 ha površine potrebno je 120-150 sadnica kestena, za koje je potrebno od 15.000- 20.000 kn, a koje mogu dati 3-5 tona ploda u punoj rodnosti. Kada plodovi dozore moguće ih je otresati, bilo ručno čime je moguće ubrati oko 15 kg ploda dnevno, bilo strojno – usisivačima koji dnevno beru 200-250 kg ploda. Cijena takvog stroja iznosi 8-12.000 €. Plodove je moguće i pustiti da sami padnu na tlo, pa onda obaviti berbu. Skladište se pri relativnoj vlazi zraka od 80% i temperaturi od 0°C, te ih je u tim uvjetima moguće čuvati 2-3 mjeseca.
U investiciji najveći udio imaju troškovi sadnica s udjelom od 19% u ukupnoj investiciji. To je i razumljivo budući da je za dobar urod nužna sadnja selekcioniranih sadnica visoke kvalitete koje imaju visoku nabavnu cijenu.

Sadnja sjemenjaka nije preporučljiva jer se dobivaju biljke neujednačene kvalitete i rodnosti. U intenzivnim nasadi ma ovakvoga tipa neophodno je navodnjavanje, da bi sadnice razvile svoj genetski potencijal i dale očekivani urod. Sustav za navodnjavanje čini 8% troška investicije. Kesten se prodaje na tržištu za konzumaciju u svježem stanju ili za preradu. Ranosezonski kesten ostvaruje veću prodajnu cijenu od kasnojesenskog. U Hrvatskoj se kesten uglavnom konzumira na tradicionalan način, kuhan ili pečen, i to samo u sezoni sazrijevanja dok je tržište ostalih prerađevina kestena jako skromno. Treba napomenuti da u kalkulaciju nisu ušli fiksni troškovi kao što su amortizacija, te trošak stalno zaposlenih radnika. Ovakav prinos je moguće ostvariti samo uz visokokvalitetne sadnice njegovane odgovarajućim agrotehničkim mjerama, uključujući natapanje. Kalkulacija je rađena za godine pune rodnosti nasada, koje se kod pitomog kestena ostvaruju oko 15. godine starosti. U troškovima se ističe trošak berbe s udjelom od 36%, koji bi u slučaju ručne berbe bio još puno veći. Uzgoj pitomog kestena može biti zanimljiv, osobito uzgoj maruna koji postiže i duplo višu otkupnu cijenu od ostalih sorti kestena , ali je potrebno kod podizanja nasada koristiti kvalitetne sadnice, uz korištenje natapanja za ostvarivanje visokih prinosa. Investicija u nasad traje četiri godine, a nasad u puni rod ulazi oko 15-te godine. Zbog raka kestenove kore, koji napada europske sorte kestena i marune, u osnivanju nasada je potrebno razmisliti o sadnji križanaca europskog kestena s japanskim ili kineskim, jer njih osim otpornosti na rak kore karakterizira i raniji ulazak u rodnost, što može povećati ekonomičnost, ali se kao ograničenje javlja osjetljivost na kasne mrazeve.

Odlučite li se za sadnju kestena maruna bitno je znati:

pH zemljišta mora biti ispod 6,5 (blago kisela)
kesten marun voli prozračna i ocijedita tla gdje se voda ne zadršava dulje vrijeme (blagi nagibi su idealni)
birajte sorte ili hibride otporne na rak kestenove kore, osu šiškaricu i trulež korijena
prvih godina voli da ga se navodnjava, a kasnije je navodnjavanje dodatan plus
sadnice kojima je korijen mikoriziran micelijem mikoriznih gljiva jamče veću otpornost na sušu, fitoftoru, brži rast i veću apsorpciju hranjivih tvari iz zemlje
ranije sorte su osjetljive na kasni proljetni mraz kao i orasi  pa im više odgovaraju povišena mjesta 300 – 600 m ili mjesta gdje su rijetki jači mrazevi
voli sunce, no mlade sadnice je potrebno zaštiti od prejakoga sunca bojanjem stabla vapnom ili stavljanjem zaštitnih tuba koje ujedno štite voćku od glodavaca
prilikom obrezivanja ili jačeg ranjavanja kore obavezno je voćarskim voskom premazati ranu kako bi se spriječila eventualna gljivična infekcija
birajte sorte ili hibride pogodne za vašu klimu i svrhu (plodovi, drvo, med)
maruni u pravilu nisu samooprašivi pa je potrebno zasaditi barem dvije ili više sorti
mogući je ekološki uzgoj ili konvencionalni kao i kod većine voćnih vrsta
maruni rode već od svoje treće godine starosti, dok se puni prinos očekuje nakon 10. godine
možete iskoristiti bespovratna sredstva iz EU fondova za podizanje trajnog nasada

Od kada je sredinom prošlog stoljeća sa kineskoga kestena prenešena gljivična infekcija (tzv. rak kore) na europski kesten došlo je do devastacije velikog djela kestenovih šuma što je uzrokovalo porast cijene kestena. Srećom razvijeni su hibridi koji imaju visoku otpornost, a pojedini sorte su i same stekle imunitet.

Posljednjih godina cijena maruna u maloprodaji kod nas kretala se od 45 kn/kg za talijanske marune te 60 kn/kg za krupnije španjolske i portugalske.

Na jedan hektar plantažeri prosječno sakupe od 3000-4000 kg, a neki čak i do 6000 kg prema španjolskim izvorima, ovisno o agrotehničkim mjerama i sustavu sadnje, što kesten marun čini vrlo profitabilnom i zanimljivom voćnom vrstom kako za profesionalce tako i za one koji imaju viška zemlje, a ne žele poput većine saditi lješnjake ili orahe.

Kod podizanja plantažnog nasada kestena maruna bitno se držati gore nabrojenih preduvjeta, odlučiti se za sklop sadnje koji se najčešće kreće od 6 x 6m, 7 x 9m, 10 x 10m pa na više, odabrati idelane sorte, njihov omjer i nabaviti kvalitetne sadnice.

Obavezno obratite pažnju na podlogu na koju je cijepljena plemka. Ona bi također trebala biti vegetativno razmnoženi hibrid (klon) otporan na trulež korijena te koji je kompatibilan sa plemkom. Podloge izrasle iz sjemena kestena (tzv. sjemenjaci) to nisu te vam dugoročno ne jamče otpornost na trulež korijena kao ni kompatibilnost sa plemkom pa može doći do pucanja kore i infekcije rakom kore.