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Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Utility readies call for proposals -- Czech Republic

The Czech Republic's dominant energy company, the CEZ Power Group, is planning to spend around CZK 20 billion (EUR 732 million) on wind energy over the next five years, two-thirds of the total sum earmarked for renewable energy projects over the period. Its renewables subsidiary, CEZ Obnovitelne Zdroje, will start with a call for tenders for projects of 10 MW or more. The current support mechanism for wind power means projects "can be operated with good economic returns, assuming the right choice of locality and type of equipment," says Josef Sedlak, director of CEZ Obnovitelne Zdroje.

CEZ is working with three scenarios, the most conservative of which aims to increase its green power production by 20%, from 1.6 TWh in 2005 to 1.9 TWh in 2010. This scenario would see it commission 100 MW of wind plant, while the most ambitious scenario foresees it increasing production by 100% to 3.2 TWh, requiring 500 MW of new wind plant.

"When choosing sites we want to give priority to our own properties," says Sedlak. "Currently we are revising our possible entry into Wind Park Chomutov, which could be the largest in Europe." Chomutov is slated for an installed capacity of 400 MW, but the project has had a chequered past. Originally planned in 2003 to be 325 MW (Windpower Monthly, December 2003), it is the brainchild of Czech project developer Venti, based in Chomutov, which planned to divide the station between three sites at Medenec, Vysluni and Hora Sv Sebastiana near the German border.

The company had been working on the project in co-operation with a company calling itself British Virtual Utility, while Venti's partnership with British Aerospace led to speculation that British support for the project was linked to a fighter plane leasing deal. At the time wind turbine supplier DeWind, having been acquired from its German owners by British engineering conglomerate FKI, was expecting to supply 105, 2 MW turbines for the first phase of the project, most of it to be manufactured at a FKI factory in Pilzen, while NEG Micon, now Vestas, expected to supply 75 of its 1.5 MW machines. Nothing about the project's progress has emerged into the public arena since then.

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