Source: ČTK Date: 12.05.2020

Prague - CEZ Power Group has shut down 500 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired units year-on-year - two units in Ledvice with an output of 220 MW, a unit of the Dětmarovice power plant with an output of 200 MW and production units in Vítkovice with an output of almost 80 MW. The 440 MW shut down at the Prunéřov power plant will be followed later this year by the company shutting down the older of its power plants there - Prunéřov I. In an interview with ČTK today, ČEZ CFO Martin Novák said. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, he said the company wants to continue its plans, which envisage that CEZ will shut down most of its coal-fired power plants by 2040.

The company presented its vision of a gradual shift away from coal last autumn. At that time, CEZ said that the installed capacity of its coal-fired power plants in the Czech Republic would gradually decline from 6.2 gigawatts (GW) to 0.7 GW by 2040, which is the capacity of the new unit at the Ledvice power plant. Ladislav Štěpánek, the director of CEZ's conventional power division, said at the time that of the three new or renewed North Bohemian lignite power plants Ledvice, Tušimice and Prunéřov, the company expects Ledvice to be the longest running. Tušimice and Prunéřov will be shut down around 2037 according to current plans, he added.

Novák told ČTK today that the current coronavirus pandemic does not change these plans. "Thanks to the covid, there is more energy worldwide rather than less. A slowdown could only happen if there is a huge demand for energy and no supply on the European market. And that is definitely not the case," he said.

In the coal power sector, ČEZ also failed to exercise an option to remain the owner of the Počerady lignite power plant, located between the towns of Louny and Most, until the end of 2019. With its installed capacity of five times 200 MW, it is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the country. The new owner of the plant will be the Sev.en Energy group of financier Pavel Tykač from the beginning of 2024 at the latest. According to Novák, there are currently no negotiations on a possible earlier transfer of the power plant. "So far it is running as agreed and there are no changes," he told the Czech News Agency today. The change of ownership has long been criticised by environmentalists, who are particularly bothered by the fact that Tykač's company plans to operate the plant longer than ČEZ in the future.

The decline of coal in the Czech Republic is also being addressed at the government level. The coal commission, set up last year, is supposed to address the decline of coal mining in the Czech Republic, but also the overall energy mix in the Czech Republic, including renewables and nuclear. The nineteen-member commission, which meets every month or two, is chaired by Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) and Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek (ANO). According to Brabec's earlier statement, the first major outcomes can be expected by the end of this year. However, the website of the weekly Hrot recently pointed out that the commission last met over covid-19 in January this year.