Austria is taking steps to ban imports of nuclear produced electricity with Germany to possibly follow suit. But can such steps, which would have a direct impact on Czech state-controlled power company ČEZ and its plans for more nuclear capacity, really be effective or allowed? Vratislav Ludvík examines the possible scenarios of how this could work out in practice and the impact on the Czech power market.
Prague City Hall took a first step towards buying out its fellow shareholder in the Czech capital’s gas distribution company, German power giant E.ON, by ordering a valuation of Pražská Plynárenská. But is the move such a good idea when the council is seeking to curb its deficit? Vratislav Ludvík puts the case for the city to make a wholehearted dash for the gas distribution business.
Just before midday on Tuesday in Lubmin on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made a symbolic turn of a large tap to launch commercial operation of the first of two lines of the Nord Stream — the world’s longest submarine gas pipeline. The dynamics of the European gas market will never be the same.
Leaks about Russian state gas company Gazprom investing in RWE could well center on the German energy giant’s Czech infrastructure assets, namely its gas pipeline company Net4Gas. Gazprom has tried before to get its hands on the strategic Czech pipeline — and a taking a direct stake in RWE appears to be out of the question — but the Russian giant might get further this time, given RWE’s financial problems.
“If only they’d keep digging and digging!” Milouš Jakeš, the general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party from 1987 to 1989, once said about mining in the former socialist state. Though hesitant to attribute visionary qualities to Jakeš, there is a certain truth in this ineloquent statement that is still valid today, writes commentator Vratislav Ludvík.
Many Czechs surmise that biomass and other non-traditional energy sources are the result of the pressure on the part of the environmentally minded part of political representations, bewitched by a sort of European “green madness,” arguing about the color of our planet. What is it then that now makes the world’s most-advanced countries invest large amounts of money in research into new technologies (including other types of “non-traditional energy generation”)?
EU regulations for liberalization and the economic crisis aren’t the only factors affecting prices on the natural gas market. The introduction of shale gas, mainly from the US, has turned the market upside down and may have long-term impacts.
Some see the Prague Spring as cynical move by the USSR to gain territorial control over future natural gas export routes to the capitalist West. After the occupation, pipelines laid out in Poland were transferred to Czechoslovakia, and the puppet ČSSR government adopted top secret resolutions to construct transit pipelines.