Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Czech market disintegrates

No turbines have been installed in the Czech Republic since 1999 -- and of the 24 that went on-line between 1990 and 1999 only eight are still operating. Five have been dismantled and 11 are stationary. "The situation here is going down rather than up," comments Milan Miessler of the Czech wind association in Prague.

The association blames the early low prices paid by electricity distributors for wind generated electricity (EUR 0.036/kWh), overly optimistic projections of wind speeds at some sites and lack of understanding of the harsh climate conditions in mountain locations for the sorry state of affairs. "Inadequate testing of prototypes by Czech manufacturers," has not helped, says Miessler. Over half the turbines installed were Czech made.

The market failed to improve even after the government introduced a feed-in tariff of EUR 0.095/kWh in November 2001. Although this almost trebled the price for wind power, plant operators had only three days to respond as applications had to be lodged before the end of that month. As far as the wind power association knows, not one operator managed to meet the deadline. And the future of the legislation is not clear.

"There is no mention of 2003 at all and one wonders what tariffs will apply in the future," says Miessler. "The priority is clearly to get the Temelin nuclear power plant on-line. Everyone in the ministry believes in nuclear. Renewables play a very quiet second fiddle."

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