Czech Republic Will Have To Stop Relying On Coal Sooner Than It Expected
According to the IEA, Czech Republic has decoupled energy use from economic growth, but must strengthen efforts to reach EU energy and climate targets by 2030 while supporting affected communities. Photo Credit: Freepik.
Czech Rep., Sep 14 (BD) – According to the International Energy Agency, the Czech Republic needs to prepare to phase-out coal earlier than currently planned, and develop low-carbon energy sources to replace it while taking steps to cushion the economic and social impact in coal-producing regions.
The IEA said that coal currently accounts for almost half of the Czech Republic’s power generation and a quarter of its residential heating demand, and is set to continue to play an important role well into the 2030s under existing policies. But new European Union energy and climate policies, including the “Fit for 55” package, are likely to force an earlier phase-out, as rising prices for CO2 emissions will make coal less competitive than other sources of electricity and heat.
The phase-out of coal poses energy security challenges, as coal is domestically sourced and provides flexible generation capacity. The IEA said that the Czech Republic must continue to diversify energy sources to ensure energy security while weaning the economy off coal. For this to happen, the country must assess the economic potential of all types of low-carbon energy and develop strategies to adopt the most promising ones. The legal and regulatory framework will also need to be adjusted to facilitate the emergence of new business models, such as local energy communities.
“I encourage the Czech government to start making better use of the various low-carbon energy sources that can help it transition in a secure way to a cleaner energy system and power its economy for decades to come,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.
“The shift from coal power to low-carbon alternatives must be done in a way that supports the people and communities impacted by the changes. In this context, I welcome the Czech government’s comprehensive framework for the economic restructuring and equitable transformation of the affected areas,” said Dr Birol.
Since the IEA’s previous review of the Czech Republic’s policies in 2016, the country has improved its energy efficiency through a number of programmes, especially in the building and industry sectors. In particular, the IEA report welcomed the simplifying of administrative procedures to provide funding for energy efficiency measures in the residential sector. Looking towards 2030, the report recommends further emphasis on energy efficiency in the Czech Republic’s energy policy.
Energy efficiency will help with the phase-out of coal by reducing concerns about heating and electricity generation. The report encouraged the Czech government to study examples from other IEA countries and consider creating a dedicated energy efficiency agency to implement its support programmes.
The report found that declining coal consumption between 2009 and 2019 helped cut the Czech Republic’s energy-related CO2 emissions by 14%. It also led to a 15% reduction in the carbon intensity of the economy and a 22% drop in the carbon intensity of electricity and heat generation. For each of these indicators, however, the Czech Republic remains above the IEA average. The IEA report recommended that the Czech Republic make better use of carbon price signals to encourage the use of less carbon-intensive fuels and increase energy efficiency. The agency also recommended redirecting at least part of the revenue from carbon tax to poorer households to compensate for the increased tax.