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Primary energy sources

The Czech electricity industry, including the heating sector, will undergo significant changes with respect to primary sources over the outlook period up to 2050. The dominating traits include the decline of brown coal, lower utilization of hard coal, higher share of RES in electricity production and significant increase of the of natural gas share. While the level of nuclear energy utilization will increase compared to the present in the Conceptual case study, the Renewable and Gas case studies presuppose the gradual complete abandonment of nuclear energy. Brown coal consumption in the electricity and heating industries is shown in the following figure.

Brown coal consumption in the electricity and heating industries (PJ)

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Mid-term horizon

Brown coal consumption will gradually decrease as sources not meeting emission requirements are being decommissioned. Brown coal production will decrease concurrently, while the defining moment will be the termination of mining operations at the ČSA mine in phase I with no potential for reopening of the mine due to the land-environmental limits in force. Brown coal production at existing sites will increasingly conform to the operation of power plants located in their immediate vicinity. To ensure availability of brown coal over the lifespan of local power plants, mining will proceed at a slower pace which will result in the restriction of coal supply to other consumers.

Domestic production of hard coal is likely to cease by 2030. Current mining operations are at all-time low (approx. 5 mil. tons). At present, the only company engaged in coal mining is OKD, which has been struggling as of late.

Natural gas consumption will continue to grow as the utilization of smaller CHP units, replacing the existing heating sources, also increases. Gas consumption in the energy and heating sectors will increase from current 1.3 billion m3 to approximately 1.8 billion3 around 2030.

There will also be an increase in the level of biomass cofiring and in power generation from biogas. Support of biomethane production could also have an effect on the situation.


Long-term horizon

The period following 2030 will see a major drop in the utilization of brown coal. Especially in the period from 2035 to 2040, coal production at the Libouš quarry will be terminated, coinciding with the decommissioning of major sources at Tušimice II and Prunéřov II. During this period, coal production will also cease in the Sokolov region, preceding the termination of operation at the coal source in Vřesová and the transition of the Vřesová steam-gas source to natural gas utilization.

Mining at the Vršany quarry, supplying primarily the Počerady power plant, could be terminated around 2045. However, as in the previous case, further development may be substantially shaped by how the situation concerning the Počerady coal source turns out – in the event of earlier decommissioning, the Vršany quarry coal could be available.

In the period around 2050, only the Bílina quarry would continue mining brown coal at approximately 4 million tons per year, while all produced coal would be intended for the 660 MW unit in Ledvice.

As further production of hard coal in the Czech Republic is unlikely, the demand of domestic electricity sources – approx. 1.5 mil. tons – would have to be covered by export. Hard coal is globally traded, but transport availability poses a general problem. Options considered include oversea transport to Western Europe, followed by train transport to the Czech Republic, or direct train transport from Russia. Natural gas consumption will be markedly influenced by the decision concerning further direction of the nuclear energy sector in the Czech Republic. In the Renewable and Gas case studies, no renewal at Dukovany will take place and the Temelín power plant will be decommissioned after 2045, while the entire production of these power plants is to be replaced by natural gas. In 2050, natural gas consumption in the electricity sector could potentially reach 12 billion m3, as suggested in the Gas case study, which is by itself 50% more than the current overall consumption of natural gas in the Czech Republic. In the Renewable case study, consumption should reach nearly 6 billion m3 in 2050, which is about a half compared to the Gas case study; this is, however, due to the massive utilization of RES.

With regard to the utilization of natural gas in the electricity sector, the growth in the volume of consumption won't be the only factor. For regulation purposes, especially in the Renewable case study, new regulating sources will be required; for example, over 1.1 GW in SCGT units. In terms of annual gas consumption, the volumes are not substantial, but the requirements on the gas system are significant. It will cause rapid flow changes in pipes which will need to be dimensioned for large but short-term offtakes.

Transition from brown coal energy to natural gas will substantially increase the import of primary raw materials. There will be an increase to 17% in the Conceptual case study, to 31% in the Renewable case study and up to 58% in the Gas case study from the current 5% import dependency with respect to primary sources (nuclear energy is considered to be domestic) for the generation of all electricity and the production of heat in the CHP process. Natural gas consumption in the electricity and heating industries is shown in the following figure.

Natural gas consumption in the electricity and heating industries (PJ)

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