William Malcolm

CEZ To Cut Coal-Fired Output, Raise Renewables By 2030

In the coming years, the ČEZ Energy Group will focus on building renewable energy sources and will continue to reduce coal. Nuclear power plants will remain part of the portfolio of resources, and the construction of a new nuclear unit in Dukovany is still planned. The company plans to build 6,000 megawatts (MW) renewable sources by 2030, mostly photovoltaic power plants. This was stated at today’s press conference on the company’s future visions by CEO Daniel Beneš and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors Pavel Cyrani. This is roughly three times the output of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant.

By 2025, the company plans to build 1,500 MW of renewable sources. The group now has 1,700 MW of renewable sources, of which 1,000 MW in the Czech Republic. The group also announced today that it will reduce emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. In 2025, it plans to produce only a quarter of all its electricity production from coal, and by 2030 only 12.5 percent. Last year, CEZ produced 57.1 terawatt-hours of electricity, excluding companies destined for sales. More than half were supplied by nuclear power plants, while coal-fired power plants accounted for a third of production. This was followed by natural gas (6.8 percent) and renewables (six percent).

“The effort to prevent climate change is a global priority, so the social and political pressure on energy is growing. The goals of decarbonization are gradually being tightened not only in our country in Europe, but also in other parts of the world,” Beneš said today. The company plans to build renewable sources primarily in the Czech Republic. “The dominant technology will be photovoltaic power plants. Even today, until the first wave of this construction, which we are preparing, we are counting on the land we have today around Severočeské doly and in northern Bohemia in general on brownfields,” he said.

The installed capacity of all photovoltaic power plants in the Czech Republic is currently about 2,000 MW, and since 2012 it has stagnated or is growing only slightly. According to experts, the reason is the end of support for the field of renewable sources after the so-called solar boom. Cyrani said today that further development of the charging network for electric cars will also contribute to reducing emissions.

The group recalled that it had significantly reduced coal production during the 1990s, when it shut down almost 2,000 MW in coal-fired power plants, a total of 19 old coal-fired units. Currently, the company has been purposefully reducing the production of electricity from coal since 2016, in the last more than a year it has closed coal units with a total capacity of approximately 1,000 MW. Beneš further stated today that a possible next nuclear unit after the planned one in Dukovany would be built in Temelín. However, according to him, the official position has not yet been adopted. He also mentioned the possibility of small modular reactors.

CEZ’s majority shareholder is the state, which holds about 70 percent of the company’s shares through the Ministry of Finance. Representatives of the current government state that the Czech energy mix should be based on nuclear energy and renewable sources in the long term. Last December, the Coal Commission recommended ending the use of coal in the Czech Republic for the production of electricity and heat in 2038;

A number of energy companies are planning to switch to low-emission sources in the coming years. Last week, the company EP Infrastructure, which is one of the main components of the Energy and Industrial Holding of the entrepreneur Daniel Křetínský, announced that it plans to withdraw from coal by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2040. Carbon neutrality means that the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced will be consumed or disposed of at the same time.