International Energy Agency says Prague must do more to meet 2030 targets

In a new study offering an in-depth review of Czech energy policy, the IEA said tougher EU targets would force the country to phase out coal faster than expected.

The report, which was presented by IEA chief Fatih Birol, says the Czech Republic must support communities in areas that will be affected by the coal phase-out.

The Czech Republic must prepare for an earlier-than-expected shutdown of coal mining, the IEA said.

It should develop low-carbon energy sources to replace it, while taking measures to mitigate economic and social impacts in the regions, he said.

The study points out that coal currently accounts for almost half of electricity production in the Czech Republic and covers a quarter of domestic heating demand.

Moreover, according to the country’s existing plans, coal is expected to play an important role until the 2030s.

However, the European Union’s new energy and climate policy, including the Fit for 55 climate package, is likely to force an earlier dismantling of coal.

Indeed, the rise in the price of emission quotas will make coal less competitive compared to other sources of electricity and heat.

Fatih Birol called on the Czech government to make greater use of various low-carbon energy sources that could help the country safely transition to a cleaner energy system and power its economy for decades.

The IEA report says the phasing out of coal mining in the Czech Republic represents both an economic and a social challenge. Many people from economically weaker regions work in this sector.

However, he said, the Czech Republic can use available European Union funds to help affected communities.

The IEA is also asking Prague to consider creating a specialized agency to focus on energy efficiency when implementing support programs.

According to the report, the drop in coal consumption between 2009 and 2019 helped reduce the resulting CO2 emissions in the Czech Republic by 14%.

Nevertheless, in this indicator and many others, the Czech Republic remains above the average of the countries studied by the organization.

Berta D. Wells