Monday, July 15, 2024
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Czechia presents new measures to ensure security of electricity and heat supplies

Czechia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has developed a comprehensive set of measures to ensure the security of electricity and heat supplies, even under unlikely critical scenarios for the Czech energy industry, such as the rapid shutdown of all coal-fired power plants by 2027, a reduced electricity production from other sources, or the slower development of renewable energy sources.

These measures are based on detailed analyses of various potential developments in the Czech energy sector, conducted in collaboration with the transmission system operator ČEPS and other energy sector representatives, including operators of the largest coal resources.

“Even in this extreme scenario, analyses have confirmed that the security of electricity and heat supplies will be maintained,” stated the Minister of Industry and Trade, Jozef Síkela. “The more realistic scenario, which emerged from our discussions with coal resource operators, envisions a gradual reduction of coal resources by 2030. However, we aim to ensure the most stable development of the Czech energy industry and create the necessary rescue funds as quickly as possible.”

The primary goal of these measures is to expedite the development of new energy sources by simplifying the permitting process and expanding financial support for sources essential for decarbonisation. “This will support the development of resources necessary for a stable transition to climate-neutral energy, including natural gas, hydrogen and CO2 capture and storage technologies,” explained René Neděla, senior director of the energy section.

The second step involves incorporating capacity mechanisms into Czech legislation. Their introduction is possible if, according to the transmission system operator ČEPS, there is a threat of an electricity shortage, even considering imports, which is unlikely even in the supercritical scenario. This assistance would support less emission-intensive sources through investments in their development.

To speed up the permitting process for new energy sources, the Ministry has prepared measures to significantly simplify administrative procedures and reduce the burden on investors. Initially, this will focus on gas power plants, which will be included among the buildings crucial for energy security under the act on accelerating strategically important infrastructure. For renewable sources, the government has already simplified several permitting processes and is preparing additional ones, such as acceleration zones. Furthermore, there will be an increase in permissible power without the need for licenses, up to 100 kilowatts (kW), compared to the previous limit of 10 kW.

A crisis measure, expected to be used only in extreme cases, is an amendment to the Energy Act, allowing the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ) to intervene and ensure the operation of necessary resources for electricity supply security.

Preparation for reducing coal resources is also necessary from the perspective of managing the electricity system. Part of the services ČEPS purchases from electricity producers to ensure system stability is the readiness of selected power plants to restart and restore the transmission system in case of a power supply failure. Currently, three certified coal-fired power plants provide these services. ČEPS is working to expand the portfolio of these service providers through an amendment to the Transmission System Operation Rules allowing these services to be provided on a guaranteed basis, increasing competition among resources.

Lastly, ČEPS is planning investments in modernising and expanding the transmission infrastructure to increase the technical capacity for importing electricity into the Czech Republic from 20 terawatt-hours (TWh) to 24 TWh per year by 2030.

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