Czech Power Grid Without Electricity from Coal By 2030

24.5.2018
Just a glance into international energy statistics reveals a clear trend of past years: electricity production from renewable energy sources is rapidly growing in all major economies across Asia, the Americas and Europe. Installed capacity of renewables has in some countries grown so significantly that they can now cover substantial part of electricity needs. In 2017 renewable electricity already made up 30 % of EU electricity production, a doubling from 15 % in 2007.

This trend also has implications for the management of the power grid. The conventional logic of the power system featured ‚baseload‘ power sources covering most of the basic electricity demand and additional sources adjusting their production to cover variable electricity demand throughout the day.

DOWNLOAD THE STUDY AS PDF

The Czech Republic is lagging behind this trend so far. However, policy assessments also provide absolute clarity on the need to decarbonize Czech power sector in order to address climate change. In other words, despite the Czech Republic’s long history of electricity production from coal, at some point all coal power plants have to be shut down.

One challenge on the road to making this possible will be to gain the support of Czech grid operators. While it should come as no surprise that a coal phase out is generally not favoured by the owners of the plants, the grid operators join them vocally with their concerns. This caution is understandable as the power system in the Czech Republic has seen only gradual change in past decades and provides a reliable service to customers with few exceptions, for example in case of extreme weather events.

As the management of the grid is always system specific, the question of how to maintain the stability of the power grid in the Czech Republic if all coal plants are replaced by variable renewable electricity sources remains open. Will electricity production fall short on cloudy winter days with no wind? What will happen to the system on sunny summer days with a large supply of solar electricity but limited demand? Providing a full answer to these questions is of key importance in developing support for the energy transition in the Czech Republic from all relevant stakeholders.

The stability and security of power grids has been in the centre of the Energynautics´work for many years. The company has developed software that enables modelling a simulation of the power grid operation. Organisations Glopolis, Frank Bold, CEE Bankwatch Network, Aliance pro energetickou soběstačnost and Hnutí DUHA asked Energynautics to do such simulation for the Czech case.

The results of the modelling are promising: a closure of coal power plants by 2030 and utilization of the potential of renewable energy would not put the Czech power grid (as part of the European network) at risk. Moreover, the Czech Republic would remain a net exporter of electricity although with reduced amounts. The supply of electricity to end users would be secured even in such an exceptional case as the unplanned shut down of a block of the nuclear power plant Temelín, the biggest source in the power system.

There is nothing to prevent the country from a gradual replacement of the existing coal capacities with cleaner alternatives. The simulation presented in this study reaffirms this point, by confirming that grid stability is not a barrier to the decarbonization of the power system in the Czech Republic.

 

Download the study of Energynautics in English.

 

This study has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union, the Czech Development Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the programme Czech Republic Development Cooperation. The contents of this report are the sole responsibility of the Beneficiaries and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.