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COP 27: Czech Sticking to Coal Phase-Out Timeline



By Victoria Hatherick

November 11, 2022 - The Czech Republic expects to maintain its existing coal phase-out timeline despite the ongoing energy crisis, a government representative said at the UN Cop 27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, today.

The Czech Republic plans to stick to its timeline to phase out coal-fired generation in the country by 2033 despite the setbacks caused by the current energy crisis, Michal Danhelka of the Czech environment ministry's department of energy and climate protection told delegates, even if some coal-fired plants might run a bit longer than they were initially expected to.

The energy sector is the Czech Republic's priority for decarbonisation, Danhelka said, with about 40pc of the country's greenhouse gas emissions coming from electricity and heat generation. Industry decarbonisation is the second priority, he said.

The Czech Republic has had good experiences with EU funding for the energy transition, Danhelka said. Revenues received from the bloc's modernisation fund are expected to reduce Czech emissions by 18mn t of CO2 equivalent through investment in decarbonising the heat sector, energy efficiency in buildings and industry, and large-scale deployment of renewables, he said. The fund supports 10 lower-income member states in transitioning to climate neutrality, sourcing revenues from the sale of EU emissions trading system (ETS) allowances.

But the Czech Republic has "issues" with the bloc's other EU ETS-funded mechanism, the innovation fund, which is designed to stimulate low-carbon technology development. No projects in the region so far have been awarded innovation funding, meaning no large-scale innovative projects such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) are coming in, Danhelka said.

The country is "counting to some extent on CCS", Danhelka said, but only from the next decade. "We are quite sure that there will be no CCS before 2030," he said.

There are currently no CCS pilot projects in the Czech Republic. Preparatory documents are expected to be available for a project in southern Moravia by the end of 2024, with the realisation of the project to begin "soon after", according to Danhelka.

Coal and lignite-fired power plants make up about 43pc of the country's total installed capacity, data from European system operators' association Entso-E show. Czech lignite-fired production averaged 3.4GW over January-September, about 500MW up on the year and an increase from 32pc to 38pc of the domestic power mix.