After a night of negotiations in Brussels, EU leaders, with the exception of Poland, have agreed to the European Commission’s Green Deal plan, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. One of those who can celebrate is Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who succeeded in having a provision under which some countries can add nuclear power to their energy mix added to the treaty.
A group of eight environmental activists who forced their way into the
Vršany brown coal mine early on Tuesday to protest against continued
mining in the region remain on the grounds of the mine for a second day
The protest is an effort to prevent the planned sale of the coal-burning Počerady electric power plant to the group Se.ven Energy belonging to Czech billionaire Pavel Tykač. Police are monitoring the situation but have not so far intervened.
Academics and former politicians have also been petitioning the power utility ČEZ against the sale on the grounds that the plant’s continued operation would be in violation of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.
The Czech energy giant ČEZ will develop small modular nuclear reactors in
cooperation with the American company NuScale, according to ČEZ spokesman
Ladislav Kříž, who told Czech Television that the two companies signed a
memorandum of understanding on Thursday. ČEZ and NuScale will share their
technical knowledge on the matter and look into the possibilities of using
such energy sources in the Czech Republic and across wider Europe.
The Czech government has a majority share in ČEZ and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stated earlier this year that small scale nuclear power sources are the optimum solution for the country when it comes to constructing new nuclear power plants. NuScale is an industry leader when it comes to the development of these energy sources and is set to launch its first commercial reactor in the US state of Idaho in 2027.
The Czech Republic should have the right to determine its own energy mix,
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told the Czech News Agency on Sunday
ahead of his departure for the United National General Assembly, which also
includes the Sustainable Development Impact Summit.
Mr. Petříček also said nuclear energy represented part of the country’s energy mix and it was an important replacement of the fossil fuels, which are being gradually phased out.
Czech state-controlled utility ČEZ has announced a September 25 deadline
for potential buyers of its Romanian assets to register their interest. The
move is in line with the company’s strategy to exit foreign markets,
including Bulgaria, Turkey and Poland.
In total, ČEZ is considering seven companies in Romania, keeping only companies engaged in modern energy services (ESCo) and trading activity. ČEZ will later issue a call for non-binding tenders from registered potential buyers.
The utility expects to earn tens of billions of crowns from the sales, which it will invest largely into renewable energies.
The deputy governor of Lower Austria, Stephan Pernkopf, and former Austrian
minister of the environment Elisabeth Köstinger have not ruled out taking
legal action against the Czech Republic at the EU over the financing of the
completing of the Dukovany nuclear power station in Moravia, the Austrian
daily Kurier wrote on Saturday night. Both politicians have criticised a
positive environmental impact assessment issued on Friday for new nuclear
units at the Czech plant.
The pair said they wanted to hear from the Prague government who would finance the construction project. Once they had done so they would ascertain whether it was possible to file a lawsuit over state support at the EU, Ms. Köstinger said.
The Austrian politicians are also opposed to the extension of the life span at Dukovany’s existing reactors.
The newly established Coal Commission will meet for the first time on
Monday to discuss coal’s future role in the Czech Republic’s energy mix
and address how to manage its reduced production and use.
Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) announced the creation of the Coal Commission this March. The 19-member advisory board is co-chaired by Brabec and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (ANO). It also includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and local communities.
Brabec said the main goal is to conduct a structured national debate on the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables and nuclear against the backdrop of combatting climate change.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions and the key reason is coal-fired power plants.
Last year, brown coal-fired power plants produced the most electricity in the national energy mix (43 percent), followed by nuclear power plants (a third) and renewable sources (11 percent).
The combination of a cut in state subsidies at home and an increased demand for solar power in Hungary is leading many Czech companies to set up to invest in the country. However, the Czech government’s plans to reduce and eventually completely remove carbon dependency has led some to promote the benefits of increasing support for photovoltaics in the country.
Severe rain and hail storms in the past two weeks are reported to have
caused damages to the tune of one billion crowns, according to data from
Czech insurance companies. The most damages are reported from the Olomouc
region but people all around the country have been filing insurance claims
over damaged roofs, cars and gardens.
Insurance companies say they have managed to settle around a third of the claims so far. Farmers also report severe damage to the fruit harvest.