PR:Ministers of Industry and Trade had to give instructions to withdraw from coal. However, instead of clean energy they are heading for the cul-the-sac

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Joint press release of NGOs Calla, Glopolis, Hnutí DUHA/Friends of the Earth Czech Republic and Zelený kruh/Green Circle dated September 5, 2017

Ministers of Industry and Trade had to give instructions to withdraw from coal. However, instead of clean energy they are heading for the cul-the-sac

Under 25 years, brown coal consumption is set to decrease by 73% [1]. The State Energy Policy of the Czech Republic, which is the main strategic document that was prepared by the Ministry of Industry and approved by the government, presupposes this. At the same time, however, Minister Jan Mládek and then Minister Jiří Havlíček insisted that the new nuclear reactors will ensure our energy needs. Environmental organizations warn about the extreme risk of betting on one unbearably expensive and hazardous horse [2].

The government has reasonably refused to promise fixed purchase prices for electricity from the new nuclear reactors in Temelín, which would burden consumer bank accounts or the state budget for decades. Yet afterwards, the government adopted the National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy and returned to an intensive search for ways to support the economically unsustainable and risky project of new nuclear reactors. In addition, the government has enacted legislation to speed up the licensing of nuclear power plants at the expense of citizens [3].

The ministry will not secure a welcome diversion from coal if it does not carry out the tasks that it has approved in the State Energy Policy. So far, the ministry has failed in terms of, for example, missed deadlines for the penalization of wasting coal in obsolete power plants or the higher taxation of fossil fuels [4]. An example of the ČEZ’s scandalous intention to sell its Počerady coal-fired power plant to the company Czech Coal owned by Pavel Tykač [5] has shown that the key semi-public company does not taka care about the goals of the energy policy. And for a long time, the state has been failing to fix it - though it was one of the agreed tasks of an energy policy with a deadline by the end of 2015 [6].

The Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed breaking brown coal mining limits, which was finally approved by the government at the Bílina Mine, and on the contrary it confirmed the limits on the Czechoslovak Army Mine [7]. Then, the Ministry tried to challenge the limits in the draft Raw Materials Policy of the Czech Republic, but the government refused it again [8]. Minister Mládek, however, has been able to block the steep increase in brown coal mining (promoted by Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš) and to enforce only a “cosmetic” increase - in addition, the legislators fixed this increase for five years by the amendment to the Mining Act [9].

Although Minister Jan Mládek has endeavored to start preparations for the opening of a new uranium mine near Brzkov in the Vysočina Region, he let go of it after finding out the economic facts and the discontent of the local population. However, continues to consider future uranium mining in the new Raw Materials Policy and intends to promote protection of deposits despite the attitude of local governments. We would be the only country in Europe to open up new uranium deposits.

The Ministry and its subordinate Radioactive Waste Repository Authority have slowly broken growing confidence by their attitude to mayors and residents of municipalities from potential sites selected for a deep geological repository. The Working Group for a Dialogue on the Deep Repository has dissolved. The Ministry has eventually failed to explain and enforce the Act that had been promised for years to remedy the uneven position of municipalities in the licensing a deep repository – the Act has not been approved yet. The requests of deputies and senators for the bill to be submitted to Parliament by the end of 2016 have also remained unfulfilled [10].

Revitalizing the development of clean domestic renewable resources has only partially succeeded, although specific steps have been taken forward. Minister Jan Mládek enforced the simplification of regulations for small façade or rooftop photovoltaic power plants and reestablished support for the production of heat from biogas stations [11]. The recent modifications to the conditions for RES in the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovations for Competitiveness under the Ministry of Industry and Trade are promising. On the contrary, the government did not solve the stagnation of wind energy, which could create thousands of jobs and help with the energy autonomy of municipalities [12].

A reserved attitude towards the further development of renewable energy is advocated by the ministry at the so-called Winter Package in Brussels. Czechs disagree with the gradual and predictable increase in the share of renewable energy by the end of the 2020s, but they are proposing to set only corridors for their further development. On the contrary, the European Commission's proposal envisages a linear development to achieve the already agreed renewable targets, is transparent and allows for good control of performance [13].

The Czech Republic does not meet its own energy saving targets. The Ministry of Industry itself, which is in charge of energy efficiency, does not see it as a priority. Drawing up subsidies for energy savings in buildings or industry is unnecessarily administratively demanding, and there is a risk of not using European aid for this area but, on the contrary, of facing imminent sanctions [14].

Jiří Koželouh, Program Director of Hnutí DUHA, said: "Ministers Jan Mládek and Jiří Havlíček did not get the chance to bet on a dead horse that is coal. However, then they instantly bet on a nuclear horse in bad shape that might run out of the starting gate, might even run, perhaps might even reach the finish line, but would certainly not win. In the meantime, promising horses tremble to get on the racecourse. Will other Industry ministers really focus on developing renewable resources and reducing energy waste, that is, champions of global and European energy horse races?"

Daniel Vondrouš, Director of Zelený kruh, said: "Minister Jan Mládek has failed to communicate with municipalities in sites threatened by the construction of a deep geological repository for radioactive waste. The unhappy and untrustworthy approach of the state has led to the collapse of mutual dialogue and has seriously worsened the prospects of finding the necessary solution for hazardous radioactive waste produced from nuclear power plants.”

"The ministry has also actively blocked the government's efforts to simplify decision-making process regarding building regulations by adopting its own special procedures for energy constructions and other special exceptions for nuclear constructions. The amendment to the Building Act will result in complex, slow and also non-transparent decision-making."

Edvard Sequens, Energy Consultant of Calla, said: "The fact that the Ministry of Industry prefers and promotes the construction of new nuclear power plants as a key solution for the future of our energy is a sad news for the citizens who would pay for it and under whose homes the nuclear waste should end up. Meanwhile, we are lagging behind in the use of energy efficiency or clean renewable resources that we absolutely need for energy modernization."


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  3. According to the amendment to the Building Act, it is now possible to site nuclear installations only on the basis of knowledge of the framework criteria, but not the specific technology, according to the amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, in the case of nuclear facilities, follow-up proceedings will not be conducted under the Atomic Act, which complicates access to potential judicial protection.
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  10. The Senate's resolution in July 2016 supported the strengthening of the role of municipalities in deciding on the deep repository and urged the government to quickly submit a draft Act regulating the involvement of municipalities in the selection of the site for a deep geological repository for radioactive waste to the Parliament of the Czech Republic so that it could be approved by the end of this parliamentary term. Similar resolution was also adopted by the Committee on the Environment of the Chamber of Deputies.
  14. Zpráva o stavu dosahování národních cílů v oblasti energetické účinnosti,
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 For protection against automatic email address robots searching for addresses to send spam to them this email address has been made unreadable for them. To get a correct mail address you have to displace "AT" by the @-symbol and "DOT" by the dot-character (".").