The Czech energy strategy: liberalization, efficiency, and nuclear power
The Czech government on Friday received a preliminary report by an expert commission on the country’s future energy strategy. The commission, led by the head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Václav Pačes, recommends that the Czech Republic should become more liberal, more efficient and should not reject any sources of energy, including nuclear power.
“From the point of view of both the European and global energy security, the situation is much more complicated than it was in the past. Right now, we have a very advantageous position – we produce the cheapest energy in the region and until 2012 or 2015, we’ll have an energy surplus that we can export. But a number of factors lead us to believe this might change in the medium term. We simply must react to this, and for that we need expert and scientific opinions.”
“We believe that the rather rigid governmental regulations should be liberalized. Until now, we have blocked any discussion on the utilization of lignite, about nuclear power and about many other issues. The particle conclusions are that we very strongly recommend to the government that it should not block discussions about any type of energy, including nuclear power, which the commission almost unanimously considers an important part of the future Czech energy strategy. The government should also support energy saving as well as renewable sources of energy.”
“The emphasis the commission puts on energy efficiency is probably the key point. Everybody in this country is talking about nuclear energy, about coal mining in the future and about renewable resources – simply about different sources of energy. But the debate needs to focus on our energy consumption and the low energy efficiency of the Czech economy.”
The conclusions of the expert team will now be discussed in Cabinet which will then wait for the commission’s final report, due by the end of the year. That gives the prime minister several months to convince the Greens, who have threatened to leave the government over the nuclear power issue. If both sides remain firm, it might well be a different government that will make a final decision on the country’s medium-term energy strategy.