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Czech coal commission targets phaseout plan by Q4 2020

Highlights

Commission plan in just over a year

Environmentalist groups welcome timetable

Subcommittees for legislation, regional impact

Prague — A first indication of how fast coal-fired generation should be phased out in the Czech Republic should be given by the end of September 2020, according to a schedule agreed to at a first meeting of the Czech Coal Commission Monday.

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Industry and trade minister Karel Havlicek confirmed the timetable, adding at a press conference that the commission would meet monthly.

The 19-person commission had agreed to the creation of three subcommittees to deal with the overall timing of the phaseout, the legislative measures to accompany it, and the regional impact mitigation policies needed in the country's three main regions where coal mining is carried out.

Havlicek added that a plant-by-plant evaluation would be carried out as part of the overall evaluation of the phaseout timetable.

The Czech coal commission is an advisory body built on the model of its German counterpart in a move aimed at updating the country's long-term energy policy, last revisited in 2015.

That plan relies on coal generating between 11% and 21% of the country's electricity in 2040, with a final phaseout not seen before 2050.

Last year coal-fired coal plants generated 47% of electricity in the Czech Republic, with nuclear power following with 33%, according to the country's energy regulator.

The Czech environment minister, Richard Brabec, who along with Havlicek will co-chair commission meetings, cautioned during Monday's press conference that a faster phaseout would require a shake-up of the country's energy mix.

Environmental group Hnuti Duha, which is represented on the coal committee, said it was pleasantly surprised that commission members had agreed to target a first report as early as September 2020.

The Czech Republic has seen sluggish development of renewables in recent years after an expensive initial program benefiting solar.

Plans to build new nuclear reactors are well behind an original timetable, with the first new capacity unlikely to commence operation before 2035-2040.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans, henry.edwardes-evans@spglobal.com; Chris Johnstone, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Bill Montgomery, newsdesk@spglobal.com