Czech environmentalists decry call to end subsidies for renewables

Appeal to the Czech president to sack the ERÚ head is likely to get a frosty reception as he vetoed the renewable energy law

Politics & Policy|Energy & Green Biz
Brian Kenety | 27.04.2012

Environmental groups have called on Czech president Václav Klaus to remove the head of the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ) over her proposal to halt all state subsidies for renewable energies as of 2014.

ERÚ chairwoman Alena Vitásková had told a news conference on Wednesday that she didn’t want to see another costly “solar boom” – when entrepreneurs scrambled to take advantage of subsidies.

She also said that as the Czech Republic should have already fulfilled its pledge to the European Union to produce 13.5 percent of its overall electricity needs from renewable energy by 2013 (well ahead of the 2020 deadline) subsidies could be scrapped the following year.

A civic environmental group called Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment said in an open letter to Klaus that Vitásková had overstepped her authority in pushing for legislation to end subsidies for renewable energy — and said the 13.5 percent figure was misleading.

“It concerns electricity, heating and motor fuels. Ms Vitásková systematically reduces debate about the fulfillment of Czech obligations only for electricity,” the environmentalist group argued.

Their appeal to the Czech head of state is likely to get a frosty reception: Klaus vetoed the new law on renewable energy and is an outspoken opponent of state support for renewable energy and anything that might distort the normal workings of the market.

Calla said the fact Vitásková has held press conferences following meetings with Klaus “awake suspicions” that they she is improperly “receiving or taking instructions from the president” rather than acting as an independent regulator of the sector.

See related story: Czech power regulator seeks to stamp out renewables support 

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