Environmental activists continue to occupy a giant excavator at the Vršany
brown coal mine in protest against the planned sale of the coal-burning
Počerady electric power plant to the group Se.ven Energy, belonging to
Czech billionaire Pavel Tykač. The activists, who forced their way to the
mine on Tuesday morning, are also calling on the Ministry of Environment to
reject an exemption from EU emission norms for the Chvaletice coal power
plant, which also belongs to Sev.en Energy.
Academics and former politicians have been petitioning the power utility ČEZ against the sale of Počerady on the ground that the plant’s continued operation would be in violation of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Czech utility ČEZ plans to sell its Počerady coal-fired power plant to
Se.ven Energy financier Pavel Tykač when an option comes available at the
end this year and shut down most of its coal resources by 2040.
Vršanská uhelná, part of the Se.ven Energy holding, should start operating the plant as of 2024. The company entered into 50-year contract with ČEZ in 2013 to supply coal to the power plant, which included two options to sell it.
Tykač set up the Se.ven Energy holding company with the aim of investing more than 1 billion euros power plants fired by fossil fuels, even as utilities shift to renewables.
In 2017, Tykač was to offer 10 billion crowns for the Počerady plant, but the supervisory board of state-controlled ČEZ rejected the sale. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), then minister of finance, also opposed the sale.
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.
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.
Charging stations for electric cars around the Czech Republic are reporting a sharp increase in electricity intake, Czech Radio reported on Friday. The Czech state-owned energy producer ČEZ, which currently controls around half of the charging stations, says consumption of electricity in the first six months of 2019 has nearly doubled year-on-year, reaching 828 869 kWh. Other companies are reporting similar growth.
The ČEZ power utility, which is 70% owned by the state, will explore the
possibilities of lithium mining at Cínovec in the Ore Mountains.
The company will give European Metals Holdings (EMH), which has a prospecting license to mine lithium in the area, a loan of two million euros (51.2 million CZK) and by the end of the year, decide whether to enter the company or have the loan returned.
The Czech Republic has the biggest lithium reserves in Europe and many politicians have pushed for lithium mining in the country to be in the hands of a state-run company.
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.
Several dozen environmental activists engaged in a symbolic blockade of the
coal power plant Chvaletice in north-east Bohemia to protest against an
exemption that will allow it to remain in operation, despite the fact that
it does not comply with all EU environment norms.
The three-day peaceful protest outside the plant’s gates ended on Friday. Protesters did not try to disrupt the plant’s operation allowing workers and traffic free passage. They argue that the plant is a serious polluter in the region and was to have closed in 2016.
The plant’s spokeswoman said on Friday that it was undergoing a modernization worth billions of crowns and already fulfilled 23 out of 25 strict EU requirements.
Czech state-run power group ČEZ has announced plans to sell its Bulgarian
assets to local investors Eurohold for 335 million euros, subject to
approval by regulatory authorities.
ČEZ entered the Bulgarian market in 2004. The prospective sale concerns seven of its local units.
Last February, a rumour that ČEZ might sell major Bulgarian assets to small firm called Inercom sparked protests over alleged corruption that led the Minister of Energy to resign.