Czech coal exit date is compromise - industry representatives

Representatives of professional associations and the energy, mining and heating industries mostly consider the coal commission's recommendation of 2038 as Czechia's coal exit date to be an acceptable compromise, a CTK poll shows. A recommendation of a date alone is not enough and specific steps must follow, they added. The coal commission recommended the date to the government on Friday.

The Confederation of Industry supported 2038 despite its reservations about the supporting documentation because the scenario includes the phase-out conditions on which it insisted, including the secure operation of the Czech transmission grid, energy self-sufficiency and timely completion of new nuclear units, said Daniel Benes, first confederation vice-president and CEO of energy group CEZ.

Focusing on the date alone neglects what the commission has actually recommended, Czech Mining Office head Martin Stemberk, who is also a commission member, told CTK. If the scenario is to be followed, the economic and social impacts of coal phase-out must be addressed and the necessary legislation adopted, Stemberk said, adding that the scenario must be regularly revised in the future so that it reflects the current development and conditions. It does not preclude a faster development of renewable sources or an earlier coal exit date, he said.

The Sev.en Energy group of financier Pavel Tykac said it now expected a responsible coal phase-out plan to be created, with the coal commission to mainly focus on the total costs being as low as possible. The coal exit date is likely to be sooner than 2038 because coal will not be cost-competitive, the Steel Union said on Twitter, adding that the biggest challenge for Czechia would be to develop new sources and prepare for an almost certain end of self-sufficiency.

The coal exit date corresponds with that of Germany, which has a major influence on the Czech economy and energy sector, ENA analyst Jiri Gavor told CTK.

The actual development may move the date forward if the legislative and economic conditions for coal sources worsen rapidly and those for renewables and accumulation are favourable, Gavor added.

The recommended coal exit date reflects the Czech government's conservative view of the energy sector, Modern Energy Union programme head Martin Sedlak said, adding that if the government heeded the recommendation, Czechia would miss a chance for a faster modernisation of the energy sector. Czechia need not worry about coal phase-out, he said, adding that the country would obtain tens of billions of Czech crowns for transforming the coal-mining regions and further tens of billions to develop zero-carbon sources.

Fio banka analyst Jan Raska said the year 2038 corresponded with the date by which CEZ will shut down most of its mines. MP and commission member Jan Zahradnik said the date was a compromise between 2043, which would bring certainty regarding Czechia's energy self-sufficiency, and 2033, which would be hazardous in terms of the country's energy security and self-sufficiency.

MP and lower house environment committee head Dana Balcarova said the coal commission's decision ran counter to the purpose for which it had been founded, which is protecting the environment and preventing the deepening of climate extremes.

Source: ČTK

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