04 June 2020
Czech coal commission marks closure of CEZ Prunerov I coal plant
Prague, 4 June 2020 – The Czech Republic’s coal commission will join state-owned energy company ČEZ tomorrow to hold a ceremony marking the closure of the Prunerov I coal power plant at the end of June. Plant closures in Europe are accelerating, and a number across the continent are expected to go offline this month as exemptions from European Union air pollution standards expire on 30 June and companies will shut plants down instead of retrofitting them.
Prunerov I, together with two other heavily polluting Czech coal plants, Chvaletice and Počerady, produce less energy than the Czech Republic exports each year, so they can be closed without risk to domestic energy security. Furthermore, as the Prunerov I & II complex, combined with the Chvaletice and Počerady plants, are estimated to have been responsible for 330 premature deaths and EUR 960 million in health costs for 2016 alone , closures will make a big difference to the health and economic wellbeing of Czech citizens.
“The coal commission wants to use the closure of Prunerov I to show that it is serious about the coal phase-out. If it is to be credible, then it must forge its recommendations to phase-out the rest of Czechia’s coal power plants by 2030 at the latest,” said Jiří Koželouh, Head of Energy Program of Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic) and Czech coal commission member. “The main pushback is coming from the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, which is advocating for no governmental action towards a coal phase-out before 2030, preferring in fact no action at all until 2040 . Czechs deserve cleaner air and proper support to justly transition to better jobs. This needs to be the coal commission’s sole focus.”
Studies show that a 2030 coal phase-out that is compatible with the UN Paris climate agreement is achievable in the Czech Republic , and polling demonstrates that there is strong public support for such a pathway. Only 15 percent of Czechs say coal is their preferred energy source, while 75 percent support renewable solutions like solar and wind. Even 52 percent of Czechs from lignite-mining regions (Ústecký, Karlovarský) are supportive of an end to coal mining and burning sooner than by 2035 .
“The Czech commission only needs to look at the number of coal plants closing across Europe to realise those resisting progress are living in fantasy land. Ignoring the new reality of coal phase-outs could isolate the Czech Republic in the international community, and tie it to dirty, obsolete technologies,” said Zala Primc, Europe Beyond Coal campaigner. “The Czech coal commission has a responsibility to avoid the mistakes made by its German counterpart, and not capitulate to coal lobby interests. Strong phase-out plans that cater to the health and wellbeing of Czech citizens and workers – not the coal industry – are needed, and needed now.”
Jiří Koželouh, Head of Energy Program, Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic) and Czech Coal commission member,
firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 723 559 495 (Czech, English)
Zala Primc, Campaigner, Europe Beyond Coal (Slovene, English)
email@example.com, + 386 (0) 386 40 981 828
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
firstname.lastname@example.org, +49 176 433 07 185 (English)
- Prunerov I has a derogation from the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive Emissions limits under the Czech Republic’s Transitional National Plan that expires on 30 June. The plant’s operator has elected not to upgrade the plant to meet EU emission standards. This then still leaves Prunerov II operating at the same site.
- Last Gasp: The coal companies making Europe sick (report, 2018) https://bit.ly/3gMsCtj
- Requirements of the Confederation of Industry (In Czech) https://bit.ly/2XwQCZS
- Czech Power Grid Without Electricity From Coal By 2030 https://bit.ly/3dsFouO
- Energie 2020 – část Uhelná energetika (Hnutí DUHA, In Czech) https://bit.ly/2Y2B5Qe
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu