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Senj Wind Farm "a miracle," says Croatian engineer

26 Sep 2023, 02:05 GMT+10

© Provided by Xinhua

Senj Wind Farm in Croatia, built by China, is not just a "miracle" but a shining example of China-Croatia cooperation.

SENJ, Croatia, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese-built Senj Wind Farm in Croatia is "a miracle for me" and a "bright example" of cooperation between China and Croatia, Zlatko Prpic, a local who has been the project's chief engineer, told Xinhua on Monday.

"These young Chinese engineers created this miracle together with us," said the 63-year-old engineer, referring to the project located on the Adriatic coast of western Croatia.

China's Norinco International, a civil engineering company, has been the main contractor and builder of the farm, which was inaugurated in December 2021 and is scheduled to remain in service for 25 years.

The farm produces about 530 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green electricity each year and reduces Croatia's carbon dioxide emissions by about 460,000 tonnes per year.

The Senj Wind Farm has meant so much for Prpic that he transferred his own design company to his son so that he could focus on the work at the farm, hailed as an exemplary project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The BRI envisions trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

© Provided by Xinhua

"We worked in very difficult conditions," Prpic recalled, noting that the project has been both demanding and complex, not only because of its geographical position in a wooded and mountainous environment but also because of its size and its complex turbine technology.

The farm had to be built during the COVID-19 pandemic in rather bad weather conditions, including snowfalls, strong winds and thunderstorms.

Prpic was responsible for planning and coordinating the construction work. "My signature was the last one. I am most proud of the fact that during the construction process no one was injured or killed," he said.

Prpic credited the Chinese team for the successful completion of the project on schedule and said he forged a close relationship with the Chinese team during the process.

"Some of them lived near my house, so we were hanging out in the evenings as well. They would come to my place for a drink or something. They cooked Chinese food for me, and I liked it a lot," said Prpic.

© Provided by Xinhua

While he tried to learn to eat with chopsticks at the construction site's kitchen, the Chinese workers would always prepare a spoon and a fork for him.

"I would tell them thank you, thank you for letting me work for you and be a part of this project, and thank you for your friendship," Prpic said.

As Croatia and the European Union (EU) are both accelerating their transition to green and renewable energy, this represents a major chance for Norinco International and other Chinese companies as they can showcase advanced technology and equipment in big projects, he noted.

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