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Czech Republic’s largest district heating source to explore biomass use

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The largest source of district heating in the Czech Republic is abandoning coal in favour of low-emission fuels, potentially including biomass.

By 2030, the Mělník site, which supplies Prague, Mělník and Neratovice, will produce heat solely from low-emission sources and will help ČEZ Group, as well as Prague and other cities, to achieve their environmental goals. A quarter of the total CO2 emissions in the Czech Republic are generated from heat production.

The first step in the planned transformation is the shutdown of the largest coal-fired power plant to date, Mělník III. Its closure turns the plant into a pure heating supplier.

Simultaneously, the preparation of the construction of highly efficient steam gas sources has begun, with plans to employ other low-emission technologies in the future, such as biomass boilers, heat pumps, or equipment for the recovery of energy from waste. These sources will gradually replace the Mělník II and Mělník I lignite heating plants.

ČEZ plans to invest around CZK 30-40 billion (€1.75-1.56 billion) in transforming heating plants into low-emission sites in the coming years.

“The transformation of our heating plants is one of the key areas through which we will achieve our environmental commitments,” said Pavel Cyrani, ČEZ’s deputy chairman of the board.

“The greening of the Mělník -based plant is one of the most important steps to achieving low-emission production, which we have set out in our Vision 2030 strategy, Clean Energy of Tomorrow.

“Due to the size of the Mělník source and its importance for Prague, this is where we will direct the largest share of the planned investments in the modernisation of the heating industry.”

ČEZ is considering the construction of an electric boiler to serve as a heat production source and also help regulate the transmission or distribution system. At the same time, the company is exploring the option of using other non-emission technologies in the future, such as through biomass boiler expansion, hydrogen combustion and production, as well as heat pumps with heat accumulation.

Miroslav Krpec, CEO of Energotrans, said: “We value our employees; their many years of operational excellence are irreplaceable for us, so we were looking for ways to retain as many of these qualified specialists as possible.

“Employees from the decommissioned Mělník III power plant have been trained in advance for a transition to our heating plants. In this way, we succeeded in securing jobs for a vast majority of our colleagues.”