The newly established Coal Commission will meet for the first time on
Monday to discuss coal’s future role in the Czech Republic’s energy mix
and address how to manage its reduced production and use.
Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) announced the creation of the Coal Commission this March. The 19-member advisory board is co-chaired by Brabec and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (ANO). It also includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and local communities.
Brabec said the main goal is to conduct a structured national debate on the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables and nuclear against the backdrop of combatting climate change.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions and the key reason is coal-fired power plants.
Last year, brown coal-fired power plants produced the most electricity in the national energy mix (43 percent), followed by nuclear power plants (a third) and renewable sources (11 percent).
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked
the entrance to the Ministry for Regional Development on Prague’s Old
Town Square shortly before noon on Friday demanding that the government
reduce emissions from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Ministry for Regional Development is represented in a government commission which will debate the gradual phasing out of coal mining and the country’s future energy mix. The activists argued that such a decision should be the result of a broad debate and consensus in society.
The black coal mining company OKD, which underwent reorganization following
insolvency procedures in 2016, is making a profit and could keep its
Karviná mine in operation until 2030, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said
following talks with the company’s management on Thursday.
The reorganization plan envisaged a gradual phase-out of mining in the region by 2023, but the prime minister said the company was in good shape and making a healthy profit and could continue to operate until 2030.
A final decision is to be made by the end of the year.
Several hundred green activists protested at the Bílina coal mine in the
north of the country on Saturday.
Two dozen of them managed to enter the mine in the early hours of the morning and chained themselves to the excavator. When other protesters tried to force their way into the mine the police intervened, detaining over 170 people.
The protest was organized by the group Limity jsme my which is striving to get the mine closed.
Over two hundred people gathered in the town of Horní Jiřetín in north Bohemia to protest against the lifting of limits on lignite mining in the region. The protesters marched to the edge of the mine, forming a human chain along its border. Several dozen activists have also broken into the premises of the Bílina mine. According to one of the organizers, Michal Černík, the protest aims is to highlight the problems connected with climate change. Horní Jiřetín is a village that could be destroyed if limits on mining in the area are eased or lifted completely.
The government late Wednesday agreed that the state owned company Prisko could make a bid of 80 million crowns for the hard coal mining company OKD, currently subject to insolvency proceedings and a rescue plan. The decision ends a spat in the government over which ministry, finance or industry and trade would take the lead with a possible state rescue. The ministry of industry firm, Diamo, will also take part alongside Prisko, subject to the ministry of finance, in a possible bid. Prime Minister Bohulsav Sobotka underlined that the state had only decided to make a bid and it was up to the insolvency manager of OKD whether it was accepted. Earlier, it was reported that US firm Alcentra has written to the Czech prime minister offering to pay at least 500 million crowns for the hard coal mining company OKD. The news was reported by the business server, Euro. Alcentra, part of the BNY Mellon group also though threatened to start arbitration proceedings if its offer was ignored.
And then there were two. That at least appears to be the final outcome of canvassing for a strategic investor to take over the Czech Republic’s last hard coal mining company, OKD. The mining company, the biggest employer in the Moravia Silesia region with around 11,000 employees, has been the subject of insolvency proceedings since last year.