The Czech Republic is revising all of its key climate and energy strategy documents at once. Together with the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), the State Energy Policy and the national Long-Term Strategy (Climate Protection Policy) are also undergoing a revision this year.
As all of these strategic documents are currently clearly incompatible with the Paris agreement climate goals and the European targets under the Fit for 55 package, the revision process represents a unique opportunity for the government to step up its ambition and prepare a strategy for an accelerated transition towards clean energy.
However, a number of obstacles stand in the way. More than a decade of stagnation of renewables in Czechia means the share of renewables in the national energy mix remains low. In order to contribute to the European climate and energy targets, Czechia should at least double its current installed capacity of renewable energy until 2030.
The deployment of renewable energy is also facing many administrative hurdles. Even after numerous delays, the law enabling the establishment of energy communities still has not been approved. Permitting processes for constructing renewable power plants are long and multiple regions enforce a practical ban of any wind turbines being constructed on their territory. Therefore, a clear strategy on how to overcome those obstacles and kickstart the energy transition and a rapid deployment of renewable energy is badly needed.
For the first time ever, a national goal of climate neutrality by 2050 has been approved by the Czech government as one of the guiding principles for the revision process. In order to achieve this target, the government envisages a further development of nuclear energy. In addition to replacing the reactors in Dukovany approaching the end of their lifecycle with newly built capacities, some of the potential scenarios also include expanding the capacity of nuclear production to 50 % of produced electricity until 2050, requiring massive investment in both conventional and small modular reactors. This risks that the financial and administrative resources needed for the energy transition will be primarily used for large nuclear projects, hindering the development of renewables and energy savings.
Preparation of the original NECP was marred by a lack of effective consultation process and of public participation. Less than two months before the revised drafts are supposed to be submitted to the European Commission, a public consultation process was finally launched as an online form. However, with only three weeks to submit comments, lack of supporting documents, and highly technical questions, the process remains fairly inaccessible to the public. Without a proper public consultation process, there is a high risk the strategies will not sufficiently address the needs of the population, severely affected by energy poverty as a result of the energy crisis.