5. 6. 2020

ČEZ continues on its path towards an emission-free future. The Prunéřov I coal power plant belongs in the history books, but its location looks to the distant future of energy production

Prunéřov – ČEZ continues to pursue its strategy of a gradual transition to low- or zero-emission production of electricity, based on renewable sources and nuclear power, and complemented by steam-gas sources for the requirements of the heating industry. After fifty-three years of operation, the 440 MW Prunéřov I coal power plant is now shutting down.

“Year-on-year, ČEZ has already shut down 500 MW of coal-fired units: two 220 MW units at the Ledvice Power Plant, one 200 MW unit at the Dětmarovice Power Plant and production units in Vítkovice with an output of almost 80 MW. With Prunéřov I, the total discontinued output equals almost 1,000 MW, which is one NPP Temelín unit,” commented on the occasion Daniel Beneš, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ČEZ.

Over the course of its existence, with the fundamental modernisation and greening of production operations in the second half of the 1990s, the Prunéřov I Power Plant has produced 139,193,107 MWh of electricity, which could presently supply the whole Czech Republic for more than two years. Apart from that, it has also produced 41,433,487 GJ of thermal energy. It has used 138,532,416 tonnes of coal and has been in operation for 1,533,797 hours. The facility’s fate will be sealed on 30th June. It will render its last service to the power engineers at the end of June, when a plant-wide shutdown awaits the Prunéřov II Power Plant and Prunéřov I will ensure the supply of heat for the cities of Klášterec nad Ohří, Chomutov and Jirkov instead. After this, it will shut down for good. The majority of the 155 core employees of the coal plant will find other jobs within ČEZ.

The history of the Prunéřov I Power Plant began 60 years ago, when the state enterprise responsible for building power plants (Ředitelství budovaných elektráren) elaborated an investment project which was subsequently approved by the then Ministry of Fuel and Energy. Originally, the plant was supposed to combine 110 and 200MW units, but the investment committee at the ministry decided that all six production blocks would have an output of 110 MW. Ground was first broken on 16th September 1963 and production units 1 – 6 were gradually set into operation between 1967 – 1968. Practically

all the shared buildings, such as the chemical wastewater treatment plant, the coal handling facility, the dredging station, workshops, warehouses and garages, were already handed over for use together with the start-up of the first unit on 27th July 1967.

Leaving aside conventional outages within the framework of regular maintenance or plant-wide shutdowns, the Prunéřov I Power Plant lived a peaceful productive life until 1985. In this and the following year, production units B5 and B6 underwent a complete overhaul, i.e. the first major renovation work within the framework of modernisation of the equipment in line with the trends of the 1980s. The same work was performed on the production units B3 and B4 in 1988-89. Just before the first wave of the greening of coal-fired power plants operated by the ČEZ Group, the operation of production blocks B1 and B2 ended in 1990-91 due to a rationalisation programme. The total output of the power plant thus reduced from 660 to 440 MW. In 1993-96, the power plant was completely desulphurised using a wet-limestone scrubbing process. During this first wave of ecological modernization, emissions of SO2 in the Prunéřov I Power Plant dropped by 92%, solid ash particles by 95%, the emission of nitrogen oxide by 50% and carbon monoxide by 77%.

It was already known at the start of the second wave of the greening of coal-fired power plants operated by ČEZ Group that further modernisation would not pay off from an economic point of view in the case of this power plant. Not only due to the ever-more-stringent emission limits, but also in view of the fact that the clearly determined recoverable coal reserves would only be enough for the modernised Tušimice and Prunéřov II power plants.

“The location should however continue to serve as an important base for modern and environmentally-friendly energy trends in the north of Bohemia. A steam-gas cycle like the one operated by ČEZ in Počerady could come into consideration, or a conventional gas boiler room like the one operated by ČEZ Teplárenská on the premises of the Ledvice Power Plant. Other possibilities include solar parks on the plots of land left after the demolition work, for example instead of the cooling towers. Various battery storage sites for electricity, large hot water storage tanks, etc. has also come under consideration,” added Otakar Tuček, director of the Tušimice and Prunéřov power plants. It seems that the transformation of some of these visions into reality, or their actual preparation, could begin within ten years.