Complex refurbishment of Prunéřov or presented myths and the reality

Prunéřov – Continually repeating declaration of ecological activists and similar people regarding the planned complex refurbishment of the Prunéřov II power plant is full of fallacious statements. For example it is not truth that ČEZ wants to erect “old scrap” corresponding with the technical level of last millennium and especially everything that is somehow related to the planned increase of efficiency of the power plant after its refurbishment. ČEZ also acts upon the valid legislation of the Czech Republic and legal regulations of the European Union. Because it is not possible to do otherwise.

From the view of experts who addict themselves to technologies and techniques used in the current power industry that is an absolute nonsense. ČEZ, however, will not use scrap but the latest technologies corresponding to the intention of the complex refurbishment of the Prunéřov II power plant. All BAT conditions will be met using the best technology available. This is also enunciated in the appraisal ordered by the Ministry of Environment. Parameters in the area of air pollution of which the new facility will dispose, are on the level of the strictest values required. For example in case of solid pollutants, the area in which the Czech Republic faces huge problems with quality of air, parameters of the refurbished power plant would be 3 times stricter than the ones normally defined for new sources by law.

What about the planned efficiency

 Also arguments that the proposed efficiency is much lower than it should be and that ČEZ refuses to increase the efficiency by 10 % etc. are false. Ecological organisations either deliberately or due to their ignorance mix together various terms. Efficiency can be monitored and exhibited in various modes of operation of power sources. Comparison of efficiency is not as trivial because some power sources are operated only in a condensation mode while some concurrently serve for delivery of heat for citizens of municipalities around the power plants. This is also the case of the Prunéřov II power plant.

However, the fact about efficiency is presented to public in the way that ČEZ will significantly save on erection of a little effective source. This is naturally not the truth. It is also for ČEZ sake for the installed technology to have the highest possible efficiency because there is than more effective production of electric power and heat.  

ČEZ aspires after better environment, activists do not

The words that the considered option will have negative impacts on health of people and nature in the Czech Republic can be considered an absolute nonsense. Thus that the proposed solution will bring impairment of living conditions in the region. Absurdity of this statement shows the fact that since 1996 the Prunéřov Power Plant has never exceeded the permitted imission limits.  

Very strict emission parameters that the new power plant would meet hereat guarantee further significant improvement in areas where the power plant can effect the quality of air. Pollutant emissions will reduce markedly, approximately by 60 % at nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide and approximately by 40 % at solid pollutants. The often mentioned emissions of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) can be reduced to by approximately 30 % due to refurbishment of the Prunéřov II power plant. Ecological activists do not apparently want that either. If the power plant is not refurbished, it will be operated after partial modifications under the existing conditions until the end of its life. Imission limits will obviously not be exceeded but will also not decrease significantly.

In case of one unit people can loose heat

ČEZ does not want to erect a supercritical unit with higher efficiency? Yes it does, if it would be technically possible. Where it is possible, we are not against. It is not a “holy virgin” for us, we are pleased when able to produce more electric power. However, efficiency is not about emissions, they will be still the same, with higher efficiency we will produce more electric power. Supercritical units, as required by Greenpeace, with the efficiency of 42 per cent have the minimal power about 700 MW, lower is not physically possible. However, if you supply heat in the location, you must have a backup for the case of failure (we still talk about technology and failure can occur). At power plants with one unit that is not possible. You do not reach this efficiency with lower power.

Second limitation is the quality of coal, which will impair in course of time (most modern coal-burning power plants in the world use good quality black coal). Therefore all studies have shown three units providing sufficient backup for heat delivery with the efficiency of 39 per cent to be the most ecological solution, also according to BAT (best available technology).  

Erection of the supercritical unit as required by nongovernmental organisations, could therefore disable heat supply to thousands of households. These would than have to spend significant financial means on purchase of own heat sources and besides the quality of air would naturally markedly impair in all municipalities without the available distance heating from the Prunéřov power plants. Eventually, a standby heating plant would be built next to the supercritical unit but the result would be the same – impairment of the quality of air.

Hora Sv. Kateřiny does not belong among the affected municipalities

Slightly surprising is the present attitude of Hora Svaté Kateřiny or let us say the local deputy mayor. The question is, why the municipality did not present their comments within the public EIA negotiations? Hora Svaté Kateřiny was, nevertheless, not included by the Ministry of Environment among the affected municipalities for it is situated rather far from Prunéřov. According to the dispersion study of EIA the analysed territory has in total 6,237 km2. On 6,227 km2, i.e. on 99.86 % of the analysed territory there will be a decrease of the calculated average annual concentration of SO2. Only on 9.16 km2, i.e. on 0.14 % of the analysed territory there will occur an increase of imission load, however under the valid SO2 imission limit. Increased SO2 imission load which, however, will be under the legislative level of permissible time of exceeding, can be expected only in the vicinity of the premises of the Prunéřov power plants.  Definitely not in the location of Hora Svaté Kateřiny.

Ota Schnepp, the press agent of the ČEZ Group for North Bohemia

January 2010