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Innovative Solutions

SDG9

The current emphasis on environmental protection is accelerating the need for energy savings. Smart solutions, advanced technologies, and digital transformation reduce energy consumption. Supporting innovations and digitalization corresponds to our strategy of VISION 2030—Clean Energy of Tomorrow.

ČEZ ESCO

As leaders in energy-saving projects and eco-friendly solutions in Czechia, ČEZ ESCO and its subsidiaries primarily serve corporates and the public sector.

ČEZ ESCO fully aligns with the Group’s VISION 2030—Clean Energy of Tomorrow and sets high ambitions. The company helps customers reduce CO2 emissions and provides them with energy savings to meet the EU 2030 target of 32.5% savings compared to 2007. ČEZ ESCO also develops e-mobility infrastructure and increases the charging capacity for electric cars. Furthermore, the company is active in clean, decentralized energy.

ČEZ ESCO’s sustainable products and services reduce customers’ carbon footprint. For example, the “Emission-free electricity” product guarantees customers that the electricity consumed comes from CEZ Group’s nuclear power plants. “Photovoltaics for CZK 1,” another innovative idea, allows customers to purchase a photovoltaic power plant without an initial investment. While ČEZ ESCO covers all costs, the customer pays for the green electricity consumed.

The basis of ČEZ ESCO’s business lies in introducing ecological and energy-saving technologies. The following are examples of notable achievements in 2021:

  • Modernization of the University Hospital in Nové Zámky: The largest energy-saving project in Slovakia will save the hospital up to CZK 20 million annually in operating costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 2,000 tons.
  • Construction of the largest rooftop photovoltaic power plant in Czechia for the car manufacturer, ŠKODA AUTO: Installation of nearly 6,000 solar modules will generate more than 2,200 MWh of electricity annually.
  • Thirty-two active Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) projects: EPCs provide energy services with guaranteed financial savings. They saved customers CZK 244 million and 48.8 tons of CO2e emissions.

ČEZ ESCO’s solutions receive professional recognition. In 2021, the project of ENESA, a subsidiary of ČEZ ESCO, ranked among the top three European 2021 projects in the Sustainable Public Procurement category by the OECD and the European Commission. Moreover, ČEZ ESCO’s solutions won two category awards in the Smart Cities 2021 competition.

Smart Cities and Digitalization

ČEZ ESCO’s Smart City concept helps cities set up efficient energy management. Designed for the public sector, the concept revolves around modern technologies and renewable resources. Using high-tech, the Smart City improves the environment and saves public budgets.

The synergies of ČEZ ESCO and its subsidiaries meet all customer needs related to Smart City projects from preliminary study to implementation. In addition, ČEZ ESCO can take care of the operation and service of the green technologies used.

When it comes to project financing, ČEZ ESCO lets customers implement their projects without burdening their own budgets. ČEZ ESCO covers the initial costs, and the customer pays the agreed installments. On top of that, the company helps with the processing of subsidies.

In VISION 2030—Clean Energy of Tomorrow, CEZ Group commits to large-scale digitalization of distribution networks. The company wants to deliver the best customer experience in the market and bring all key customer processes online by 2025.

The CEZ Group digitalization program follows the National Action Plan for Smart Grids and requirements of the State Energy Policy. The digitalization program and its solutions will benefit renewables, energy storage, e-mobility, and new related services.

The program focuses on two primary areas:

  1. transforming distribution networks into smart automated networks,
  2. transforming and digitalizing internal processes.

Modernizing CEZ Group distribution will require massive investments: smart digital electricity grids and fiber-optic networks account for most of them. For example, the company develops optical infrastructure to simplify remote control of stations and fault detection. Smart elements enable automation, which is the key to remotely controlled components and distribution system monitoring. Eventually, such smartification significantly reduces the failure rate and increases the reliability of the power supply.

ČEZ Distribuce, a distribution system operator, spent CZK 13.4 billion on network modernization in 2021 (8% increase year-on-year). Between 2022-2025, ČEZ Distribuce plans to invest CZK 14.5 billion annually to ensure a high-quality and stable electricity supply. In the short term, the company wants to start implementing systems for metering, control, and management of nodal and loop distribution stations. ČEZ Distribuce envisions becoming a leader in digitalization and thus contributing to the decarbonization of the Czech energy industry.

CEZ Group also supports digitalization in its internal processes, e.g., in the legal area.

In 2020, the process of the General Meeting of Shareholders of ČEZ, a. s., was significantly streamlined and digitized thanks to the application VH Live!, which was custom-made for ČEZ, a. s. The main objective was to process shareholder submissions in electronic form efficiently. In 2021, the use of the VH Live! application was expanded for technical support of the new Rules of Procedure of the General Meeting. The shift in the digitalization of processes contributed to the increased convenience and streamlining of the General Meeting.

In 2020, the process of the General Meeting of Shareholders of ČEZ, a. s., was significantly streamlined and digitized thanks to the application VH Live!, which was custom-made for ČEZ, a. s. The main objective was to process shareholder submissions in electronic form efficiently. In 2021, the use of the VH Live! application was expanded for technical support of the new Rules of Procedure of the General Meeting. The shift in the digitalization of processes contributed to the increased convenience and streamlining of the General Meeting.

Research and Development

Our research and development (R&D) programs cover many areas, including renewables and sustainable solutions. R&D projects focus on nuclear energy, emission reduction, renewables, materials, reliability and durability of components and systems, hydrogen technologies, energy storage, smart grids, IT solutions and digitalization, energy-saving technologies, and e-mobility. R&D outcomes are used across CEZ Group to improve the ecological, safety, and economic parameters of our operations.

In CEZ Group, R&D is mainly performed by the Research Centre Řež (RCŘ) and the ÚJV Řež. RCŘ is a research organization focused on research, development, and innovation in the energy sector. The main research area consists of two nuclear research reactors and a set of laboratories and experimental facilities, including facilities for nuclear fusion research. ÚJV Řež focuses on services and research for operators and manufacturers of energy equipment, especially nuclear power plants, on radioactive waste treatment, and on diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals for positron emission tomography. ÚJV Řež is active in the development of hydrogen technologies for energy and transport. Both organizations are involved in many international projects and activities, such as the EU Framework Programmes, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the OECD/Agency for Nuclear Energy.

In 2021, total R&D operating expenses came up to CZK 952.4 million (8% decrease year-on-year), of which subsidies formed 43%. Specific projects, outputs, and program memberships are available in the CEZ Group’s 2021 Annual Report.

Inven Capital

Inven Capital is a venture capital fund investing in clean-tech and renewable energy start-ups. Backed by ČEZ, a. s., and European Investment Bank, Inven Capital has become one of the largest clean-tech funds in Europe. Inven Capital has invested in 14 start-ups and the British Environmental Technologies Fund 2; Inven Capital successfully exited three of them.

All start-ups funded by Inven Capital engage in sustainable development. Start-ups either change the way existing industries operate or create new hi-tech products. Start-ups have launched green projects related to hydrogen technology, solar energy, energy efficiency and savings, e-mobility, etc. Some startups regularly score in the Global Cleantech 100 survey conducted by the consultancy Cleantech Group.

Being part of CEZ Group, start-ups can draw on extensive expertise in the energy sector, technology synergies, and client base. On the other hand, the know-how of start-ups brings huge added value to CEZ Group.

In addition to financial factors, Inven Capital regards sustainability as an essential part of investment strategy. Inven Capital is a member of Leaders for Climate Action (LFCA), an international initiative that fights global climate change by decarbonizing its member companies. As an LFCA member, Inven Capital commits to including a sustainability clause in new investment contracts.

In 2021, Inven Capital joined VentureESG, a community of European venture capital funds, striving to consolidate ESG principles for sustainable investments. As a result, Inven Capital supports portfolio companies in applying ESG best practices.

Inven Capital itself operates in an eco-friendly manner. In 2021, the company became the first holder of a carbon-neutral business certificate in CEZ Group.

Partnerships for Innovation

We are constantly building an innovation ecosystem across CEZ Group. Through cooperation with ČEZ ESCO and ČEZ Prodej, we can share innovative know-how to create new products and services with high added value.

We seek memberships in professional associations, societies, and platforms connecting experts on innovations. Electric Power Research Institute, vgbe energy e.V., and Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform are good examples of our involvement.

We are active or co-founding members of platforms that bring together entities from the energy, automotive, and research sectors to support e-mobility development, such as the E-mobility Platform or the platform of the National Action Plan for Clean Mobility.

We also draw innovative inspiration from outside the energy sector. For instance, we participate in the Innovation Roadshow and are founding members of the I2US cooperation platform. Together with other Czech and international innovation leaders, we share our experience and use the knowledge gained for our innovations.

We have registered an increasing demand for e-mobility solutions among our corporate clients that restructure their fleets or electrify public transport. In addition to e-vehicles and charging technologies, we integrate e-mobility solutions into customers’ overall energy management strategy.

In 2021, we signed a memorandum with the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade on a project for an e-car battery factory with an annual production capacity of 40 GWh. We will implement the project in cooperation with representatives of the automotive industry and battery manufacturers.

Energy Consumption and Reduction of Energy Intensity

GRI 103, 302-1, 302-3; SASB IF-EU-000.D / SDG7

Our energy-saving commitments, which are described in the CEZ Group Energy Policy and approved by the Board of Directors, set the framework for energy management and efficiency. Fulfilling these commitments will also help us achieve our target to reduce our CO2 emission intensity (from 0.38 tCO2e/MWh in 2019 to 0.16 tCO2e/MWh in 2030).

Since 2015, the Energy Management System (EnMS) has been a key tool for energy savings in CEZ Group. EnMS fully aligns with the Environmental Management System (EMS), and together they help fulfill our responsibilities.

In particular, EnMS aims to:

  • improve energy efficiency
  • optimize operations
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions

EnMS follows the ISO 50001 standard and is set up at most of our sites. Alternatively, regular audits are carried out. Regular internal and external EnMS audits check that energy management requirements are met. The EnMS is subject to a second review annually and also upon a significant change (e.g., new technologies and inputs).

We have targets and action plans for energy savings at all sites and regularly monitor energy flows critical to overall energy efficiency. We review our energy consumption annually and evaluate progress against energy targets and action plans. In 2021, CEZ Group’s total energy consumption decreased by more than 9% compared to 2020, and the energy intensity ratio declined by almost 3%.

Energy Intensity
(consumption of energy in fuel per energy unit supplied)
Unit 2019 2020 2021
A) Energy generated from fuel TJ 615,751 578,439 535,991
o/w nonrenewable fuels TJ 603,059 563,471 523,583
o/w renewable fuels TJ 12,692 14,967 12,408
B) Energy generated from “nonfuel sources” TJ 9,973 10,320 7,351
C) Energy supplied TJ 220,808 208,903 199,166
o/w electricity TJ 196,692 184,921 172,773
o/w heat TJ 24,116 23,982 26,393
Total energy consumption within the organization (A+B-C) TJ 404,916 379,855 344,176
Eneray intensity ratio (A/C) TJ 2.789 2.769 2.691

Electricity Generation by Souce (in %)

  %
 Nuclear 54.9
 Hydro 4.5
 Photovoltaic 0.2
 Wind 1.1
 Coal 32.1
 Natural gas 5.6
 Biomass 1.6
 Biogas 0.0

Employees at sites with an implemented EnMS receive training (in person or online) at least once every two years. Employees learn about energy consumption indicators in office buildings and different technologies, including energy efficiency indicators, and find out how to approach them responsibly. Our suppliers performing site-specific activities also attend EnMS training. In their case, the training primarily focuses on becoming familiar with energy management requirements.

In line with the Czech National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, we implement energy efficiency initiatives with our customers. We install modern technologies, smart products, and systems that intelligently manage energy consumption. We also raise customer awareness of energy savings through information campaigns.

Below are the major energy-saving projects we implemented for our customers in 2021:

  • high-efficiency cogeneration of electricity and heat
  • heat pumps in residential buildings
  • energy services with guaranteed financial savings
  • energy-efficient lighting in non-residential buildings
  • energy-efficient outdoor lighting in industrial premises

In the next few years, we will focus primarily on digital transformation and decentralized energy generation. Seeing digitalization as a driver for lower energy consumption, we have set a target to cover 80% of consumption with smart meters by 2030.

Research and development also play an important role in our energy management. In 2021, R&D focused on advanced data processing systems to improve the energy efficiency of businesses and institutions.