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Czech coal power plant shuts down after 53 years of operations

After fifty-three years of operation, the 440 megawatts (MW) Prunéřov I coal power plant is now shutting down. Czech utility company ČEZ, owner of the plant, is continuing to pursue its strategy of a gradual transition to low- or zero-emission production of electricity, based on renewable sources and nuclear power and complemented by steam-gas sources for the requirements of the heating industry.

“Year-on-year, ČEZ has already shut down 500 MW of coal-fired units: two 220 MW units at the Ledvice Power Plant, one 200 MW unit at the Dětmarovice Power Plant and production units in Vítkovice with an output of almost 80 MW,” commented Daniel Beneš, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ČEZ. “With Prunéřov I, the total discontinued output equals almost 1,000 MW, which is one NPP Temelín unit.”

Over the course of its existence, with the fundamental modernisation and greening of production operations in the second half of the 1990s, the Prunéřov I Power Plant has produced more than 139,000 MWh of electricity, which could presently supply the whole Czech Republic for more than two years. Apart from that, it has also produced over 41,000 gigajoules (GJ) of thermal energy.

It will render its last service to the power engineers at the end of June when a plant-wide shutdown awaits the Prunéřov II Power Plant and Prunéřov I will ensure the supply of heat for the cities of Klášterec nad Ohří, Chomutov and Jirkov instead. After this, it will shut down for good.

During the first wave of the greening of coal-fired power plants operated by the ČEZ Group, emissions of SO2 in the Prunéřov I Power Plant dropped by 92 per cent, solid ash particles by 95 per cent, the emission of nitrogen oxide by 50 per cent and carbon monoxide by 77 per cent. But it was already known at the start of the second wave of the greening of coal-fired power plants operated by ČEZ Group that further modernisation would not pay off from an economic point of view in the case of this power plant.

“The location should, however, continue to serve as an important base for modern and environmentally-friendly energy trends in the north of Bohemia,” added Otakar Tuček, director of the Tušimice and Prunéřov power plants. “A steam-gas cycle like the one operated by ČEZ in Počerady could come into consideration, or a conventional gas boiler room like the one operated by ČEZ Teplárenská on the premises of the Ledvice Power Plant. Other possibilities include solar parks on the plots of land left after the demolition work, for example instead of the cooling towers. Various battery storage sites for electricity, large hot water storage tanks, etc. has also come under consideration.” 

It seems that the transformation of some of these visions into reality, or their actual preparation, could begin within ten years.

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