In the year 2040 people in the Czech Republic will mainly consume energy produced from natural gas and biomass, while brown coal will be virtually abandoned as a source. At least that is the best possible scenario advanced in a draft long-term state energy plan quoted by the Czech News Agency.
The energy plan has been produced by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. It is currently being reviewed by other government departments and is due to be discussed by the cabinet by the end of this year.
Natural gas is already the most used form of energy in the Czech Republic when it comes to household consumption and heating. However, under the draft plan its consumption is set to fall.
In 2010, Czechs consumed 96.9 petajoules of natural gas – in 2040 that figure should have fallen to 73.7 petajoules, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s plans.
There will be a marked reduction in the use of brown coal as a power source, from 21.1 petajoules four years ago to a mere 1.8 petajoules in 2030, with the same figure given for 2040.
As the use of gas and coal gradually falls, Czech consumers are expected to increasingly use power generated from new sources such as biomass, solar panels and heat pumps.
However, there are questions over how attractive such sources would be to consumers. Analyst Petr Hlinomaz of BH Securities told the Czech News Agency that the government may need to support investment programmes to encourage households to switch to alternative energy sources.
Many Czechs might struggle to meet the cost of the initial investment in their own solar panels or heat pump, Hlinomaz said, also raising the question of how the energy lobby would react to moves to make households independent of suppliers.
In 2010, 48.5 petajoules was produced from biomass. In two and a half decades’ time it should be 60.6 petajoules. In the case of solar power the figures are 0.3 petajoules and 4 petajoules, while for heat pumps they are 1.2 petajoules and 11 petajoules.
Hlinomaz said there could be an even greater fall in the consumption of brown coal, black coal and briquettes than envisaged in the draft energy plan. Young people are migrating to urban centres where such fuels are relatively little used, he said.
Some experts say the draft energy plan is too fuzzy on details. Meanwhile, former prime minister Vladimír Špidla – an advisor to the current PM, Bohuslav Sobotka – says it has a number of shortcomings, including not being sufficiently coordinated with Germany’s long-term energy strategy.