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Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Special Report Europe 2020 - New member ambition - Investors move into emerging markets - Czech policy likely to keep renewables to a minimum

The Czech Republic target for renewables by 2020 is to raise its share in the energy supply mix from 6.1% to 13%, but there is considerable scepticism about whether this will be achieved. The target means around 50 TWh of a total 353.6 TWh forecast demand in 2020 must come from renewables, it says. Wind will play only a limited role, according to the country's new draft state energy policy.

With a euro-sceptic leader at the helm, the Czech Republic is not expected to vastly improve its policy for wind.

The Czech Republic target for renewables by 2020 is to raise its share in the energy supply mix from 6.1% to 13%, but there is considerable scepticism about whether this will be achieved. The target means around 50 TWh of a total 353.6 TWh forecast demand in 2020 must come from renewables, it says. Wind will play only a limited role, according to the country's new draft state energy policy. This says plans for the country's national renewables support is slanted strongly in favour of heat production. Just 1200 MW of wind capacity, it adds, is possible in the Czech Republic, the maximum the country's limited transmission network could cope with. This would produce an annual output of around 2.6 TWh of electricity.

"Wind's potential may be higher but this could not be realised without additional investment to the grid and back-up capacity," says a ministry official. The Czech wind energy association says if that investment was made wind could produce around 6 TWh, accounting for about 12% of the 50 TWh renewables goal.

"I have no idea how the 13% target will be reached by 2020," says Petr Pavek of renewables company Resec. "All efforts by the government and the state seem to be working in the opposite direction." He adds: "At first sight, it looks as though Czech renewable support arrangements ought to be firing up the sector. But a closer look reveals the opposite. We have a drop in tariff rates, and nature protection and building rules continue to hinder rather than facilitate wind energy."

Under a national leader, president Vaclav Klaus, who is not afraid to show his euro-scepticism, Pavek questions how seriously the European renewables targets are being taken by the government. "We already have a target under the previous European renewables directive to achieve an 8% share of renewables in supply of electricity by 2010, but we are currently at about 3%," says Pavek, who was vice-minister at the Czech ministry for regional development in 2007 and 2008.

The final version of the new official state energy plan is expected next September, says the Czech renewable energy agency. While including renewables, it is likely to favour nuclear and coal use, says the agency. Indeed, an Independent Energy Commission (IEC) report for the government looking at needs to 2050, published last autumn, came in for heavy criticism for proposing a reduction in the current substantial use of lignite. The IEC's basic scenario suggested renewables' share in electricity generation should increase to 17% by 2030. Nuclear's share would be 54%, while fossil fuels would contribute the remaining 29%.

Sara Knight, Windpower Monthly

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