The Czech Constitutional Court has broadly backed the government’s right to put a brake on a solar power boom through retroactive taxes. It pointed out that though the blanket measure may have badly hit smaller investors counting on quick returns after taking out high interest loans the government had to have lee way to react to events.
The not-so-sunny Czech Republic is fourth in the world for its solar power capacity thanks to over generous grants in the past which sparked a boom. Now the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ) wants to curb any chance of any similar renewable El Dorado at the expense of the taxpayer with a ban on virtually all new support proposed from 2014.
Czech and German leaders have different stances on EU fiscal, nuclear power and renewable energy issues, but in a fleeting Prague visit Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to put a thick gloss on their bilateral problem areas — from the energy sector to the EU fiscal pact — and talk up the positive.
State-owned power giant ČEZ has announced the purchase of around two-thirds of one of Poland’s biggest wind power companies, which has projects in the pipeline that will deliver capacity equal to that of a conventional nuclear reactor. ČEZ is seeking to buy up renewables abroad, mostly wind and hydro projects, to tap a stable flow of earnings once construction of its proposed two new Temelín nuclear reactors has started.
Chief financial officer of Czech state-controlled electricity company ČEZ, Martin Novák, has said the company is not interested in placing a minority stake in its renewable enegy unit directly on stock exchanges but might opt for an institutional sale. The company is seeking funds for further renewables expansion abroad to boost earnings as it proceeds with the expansion of its Temelín nuclear power plant.
Platforma pro OZE, a local association championing the rights of renewables power companies, says proceedings started by the European Commission are a lot wider than just taking the Czech Republic to task over its failure to push through legislation on time. Brussels is also looking into the ongoing refusal to connect wind and solar plants because it could threaten the electricity grid, it says.
Energy Regulation Authority (ERÚ) head Alena Vitásková has launched independent audits to investigate the circumstancs surrounding the costly solar power boom in the Czech Republic and pledges she will not allow something similar to happen again. She had already pinpointed one danger from hastily drawn up laws aimed at boosting the use of biogas and says the ERÚ will take a stand against them.
Slammed by the country’s prime minister and attacked in the press, state-controlled Czech energy giant ČEZ is defiant and wants to push ahead with its foreign acquisitions strategy, focused on a renewables spending spree in Romania, Poland and Germany. ČEZ bosses say they want to buy up large, ready-for-construction projects, mostly centered on wind and hydro plants.
New ČEZ boss Daniel Beneš has put forward surprising plans for the Czech state-controlled company to massively invest in hydro and wind power plants in Central Europe and the Balkans. The logic is that that guaranteed subsidies in some countries could generate fast and stable cash flows that could come on line just as construction of two new nuclear units at Temelín is expected to start.
New head of the Czech Energy Regulation Authority (ERÚ) Alena Vitásková has said in her first interview in the job that two-decade old coal mining limits should be dropped. She has also come out in favor of strict rules for the many biogas and biomass power plants in preparation to prevent another costly boom along the lines of the Czech solar surge.