Czech energy sources become greener thanks to Velvet Revolution |

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Czech energy sources become greener thanks to Velvet Revolution

Czech energy sources become greener thanks to Velvet Revolution

The Velvet Revolution triggered massive investments in Czech power plants to make them more environmentally friendly, which was quite a unique process in a former Eastern Bloc country, representatives of selected firms and environmental organisations have agreed. The 1989 Velvet Revolution was a non-violent transition of power in former Czechoslovakia.

Energy group CEZ said it had invested over Kc200bn in the modernisation of its coal sources since 1989. Other market players have made similar investments.

According to environmentalists, the trend of investing in green energy must continue and the oldest fossil fuel plants that are the biggest air polluters must be shut down in the coming years.

In 1992 to 1998, CEZ desulphurised 5,930 megawatts (MW) of its coal-fired facilities' capacity and installed fluid boilers covering a capacity of 500 MW, with investments amounting to Kc111bn, said CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz.

The installed capacity of the largest Czech nuclear power plant in Temelin is about 2,000 MW. More than Kc100bn was invested in environmental projects in 2008 to 2017, Kriz told CTK.

Further investments are being made in selected power plants to reduce emissions as part of preparations for European limits taking effect as of 2020, Kriz said.

Since 1998, CEZ and other producers have been operating power plants that meet the strict emission limits set by law, he said.

Sulphur dioxide emissions have fallen by 98 percent compared to 1989, fly ash emissions by 99 percent, and nitrogen oxide emissions have been 86 percent lower, said CEZ board member Ladislav Stepanek.

A similar trend has been confirmed by Sev.en Energy group of financier Pavel Tykac which runs brown-coal-fired power plant Elektrarna Chvaletice.

The power plant has cut solid particle emissions by 91.2 percent over the period. Nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions have decreased by 81.1 and 82.4 percent, respectively, and sulphur dioxide emissions have fallen by 98.8 percent, the group's spokeswoman Gabriela Sarickova Benesova told CTK.

Projects that are under way will cut emissions further, by about 50 percent, with total costs including the latest investments surpassing Kc10bn, she said.

Jiri Kozelouh of Friends of the Earth environmental organisation said the modernisation of coal sources was a big success of the Czech environmental policy. To cut greenhouse gas emissions, however, it is necessary to shut down old coal-fired power plans in the years ahead, he said.

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