Czech spending watchdog puts trillion crown bill on renewables support

Photo: European Commission

The Czech Republic’s spending watchdog the Supreme Audit Office has warned that incentives for the production of electricity from renewable sources of energy, such as biomass, wind, water, biogas and solar radiation, will continue to burden the country’s economy for years to come.

Photo: European Commission
The total costs of supporting renewable energy resources will exceed one trillion crowns by 2030, the Supreme Audit Office warned in a press release published on Tuesday. A major portion of the sum will be paid by the local electricity consumers themselves through surcharges on electricity consumed.

The watchdog focused its attention on the allocations of state funds for programmes of energy saving and renewable energy development between the years 2011 and 2013. And it found the costs for that peak period of support amounted to nearly 157 billion crowns.

According to the authority’s findings, the government failed to react in time to the solar boom caused by high guaranteed prices back in 2009 and 2010. The government approved large subsidies for solar plants and other producers of energy from renewable sources to meet the country’s European Union commitments of producing 13 percent of energy from renewables by the year 2020.

The study of the Supreme Audit Office found that electricity produced by photovoltaic plants between the years 2009 and 2013 rose by an incredible 2320 percent. In comparison, the energy produced by solar plants during the same period in Germany climbed by 300 percent. The study points out that the largest portion of the state funds for renewable sources of energy went to solar plants, despite this being one of the most expensive renewable energy sources. For instance in 2013, the state allocated a total of 44 billion crowns for support green energy. Two thirds of that sum went to the photovoltaic power plants, which only produced 22 percent of green energy.

The share of renewable energy as a proportion of gross energy consumption in the Czech Republic was a little over 11 percent in 2013, two percentage points short of the country’s international commitments of producing 13 percent of energy from renewables.

The Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association and the Alliance for Energy Independence disagree with the Supreme Audit office figures, arguing that their earnings were reduced by the so-called solar tax, introduced in 2010 to claw back some of the high support for solar plants.