One of CEZ Group’s key tasks is to further develop its utilization of renewable sources. The benefit of having them in the energy mix is given primarily by their positive environmental profile and by the fact that they do not place any demands on dwindling fossil fuel reserves.
In 2010, the Czech Republic met a partial, indicative target that is part of its valid obligations toward the European Union: renewable sources now represent 8% of overall gross energy consumption (the next target is 13.5% by 2020). The updated National Action Plan calls for implementation of a de facto ceiling on photovoltaic installed capacity; ČEZ’s market share in this segment has stabilized at 6.3%. The company plans to steadily increase biomass generation volume: for 2012 the plan is to generate approximately 300 GWh from this commodity within ČEZ alone: i.e., enough to power 120,000 homes.
Through its “Biomass” project, CEZ Group continues to grow solid biofuels-based generation. At Hodonín Power Station we developed, installed, and – in early 2012 – commissioned an automatic biomass sampler. At the same facility, a system for conveyance of biomass in the form of pellets was installed in order to increase the output of the fluidized-bed boiler that runs on 100% biomass. At Poříčí Power Station, 2011 saw the preparation of project documentation and selection of a contractor to modify the fluidized-bed boiler there in order to increase the weighting of biomass in its fuel mix. Also in 2011, a milling test of a black coal-biomass mixture in the form of pellets was conducted at the Ostrava – Vítkovice Power Station in order to investigate that plant’s potential for biomass co-combustion.
Each year, CEZ Group in the Czech Republic generates approximately 2 billion kWh of clean energy (hydro, biomass, solar, wind), thereby making a major contribution toward meeting the Czech Republic’s obligations toward the European Union. In the future, CEZ Group plans to build new renewable sources facilities exclusively in other European Union countries, where the natural conditions are much more amenable to these applications than they are in the Czech Republic.
CEZ Group hydro, photovoltaic, and wind power stations in the Czech Republic generated a total of 2,353 GWh of electricity in 2010 and a total of 2,007 GWh of electricity in 2011. These figures do not include biomass combustion and co-combustion, which amounted to 337 GWh and 428 GWh in 2010 and 2011, respectively. All together, then, CEZ Group electricity generation from renewable sources in the Czech Republic totaled 2,690 GWh in 2010 and 2,435 GWh in 2011.
Although the Czech Republic’s natural resources are not ideal for building large-scale hydro power projects, hydro power plants are the country’s principal renewable energy source. As our rivers and streams do not have the necessary declivity or sufficient flow rates, hydro’s share in overall power generation is relatively low. An important role played by hydro power plants in the Czech Republic is to act as a complementary source of electricity generation, mainly utilizing their ability to quickly ramp up to full output, which is an advantage when immediate power is needed to maintain the balance between electricity generation and consumption in the Czech Republic Power System.
All large hydro power plants – with the exception of Dalešice, Mohelno, Dlouhé Stráně and Ústí nad Labem – Střekov – are located on the Vltava River, where they form a cascade-like system called the Vltava River Cascade. Their operation is automated and controlled from central dispatch in Štěchovice. The total installed capacity of CEZ Group large-scale hydro power plants is 724 MW (this figure does not include pumped-storage hydro power plants).
In addition to the large-scale power plants, CEZ Group also operates 26 smaller hydro power plants (25 in the Czech Republic and one in Poland). Their total installed capacity is 68 MW.
Another significant renewable energy source is biomass, in which solar energy is stored. The term “biomass” usually means a substance of biological origin, such as plant biomass grown in soil or water, animal biomass, organic byproducts, and/or organic waste.
In general, using biomass to generate energy is considered desirable, and appropriate in terms of minimizing environmental burdens. It has a promising future at CEZ Group. We are planning to steadily increase biomass cocombustion operations at the Hodonín, Poříčí, Dvůr Králové, and Tisová Power Stations. In addition, CEZ Group plans to build new plants designed to combust 100% biomass. Currently, CEZ Group is active in acquisitions. In April 2009 we announced the acquisition of a combined heat and power plant in Jindřichův Hradec that runs exclusively on biomass. As of December 31, 2009, one of the generating units at Hodonín Power Station runs on 100% biomass as well.
In 2011, CEZ Group produced over 400 million kWh from biomass, enough to power 120,000 homes.
In terms of environmental protection, direct utilization of solar energy is the purest and environmentally sound method of electricity generation. The sun’s power output exceeds the theoretical consumption of the entire human race by a factor of 40 trillion. Today, however, we are capable of utilizing only a small portion. The amount of energy we obtain is negligible compared to the total amount of solar energy. Even though photovoltaics currently account for only about 0.01% of overall world electricity generation, solar technologies have great growth potential and advanced countries are counting on this renewable resource for the future.
CEZ Group is a pioneer in the utilization of solar energy to generate electricity. The power plant at Mravenečník, originally commissioned in 1997 and currently located in the Dukovany Nuclear Power Station compound, was the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. Even today, we are installing modern photovoltaic power plants to develop our renewables portfolio.
Our country has a tradition of using windmills to harness wind energy. Historically, the first documented windmill in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia dates back to 1277, and was built in the garden of the Strahov Monastery in Prague. The first new-age wind power plants appeared in the late 1980s. Currently, wind power plants are in operation at several tens of sites in the Czech Republic, and their nominal output ranges from small (300 kW) for private applications, up to 2 MW. As of year-end 2011, total installed wind power generation capacity in the Czech Republic according to Energy Regulatory Office figures was nearly 219 MW.
CEZ Group is one of the pioneers of wind energy in the Czech Republic, having operated wind power plants at Dlouhá Louka nad Osekem (near Litvínov in the Giant Mountains), at Mravenečník in the Jeseníky Mountains, and at Nový Hrádek near Náchod. The first modern, new-generation wind power plants were commissioned in 2009 at Janov (near Litomyšl) and Věžnice (near Polná). Events for windenergy fans – Open House Days, “Drakiáda” kite-flying competitions, school tours, etc. – are held regularly at both locations.
In order to popularize wind energy, on October 15, 2011 we launched a special program for visitors to the Věznice wind power plant.
With one of the new, modern units towering nearby, an all-day kite competition was held. Participants and other visitors could take a guided tour, led by a specialist, of the inside of the power station, and compete for attractive prizes. The event was organized by the Czech Wind Energy Association in cooperation with ČEZ Obnovitelné zdroje and the Town of Věžnice.
On June 11, 2011, wind energy buffs had the opportunity to participate in the sixth annual Open House Day, on which 16 wind power stations at 16 sites throughout the Czech Republic opened their doors to the public. Each year, this event is organized by the Czech Wind Energy Association (www.csve.cz) in cooperation with the European Wind Energy Association in commemoration of Global Wind Day. CEZ Group opened its wind power plants at two sites: Janov (near Litomyšl) and Věžnice (near Havlíčkův Brod).