Nine reasons why Prunerov II should not receive permission to be built

1st It is a half-hearted modernization in contradiction with Czech and European standards.
The complete renewal of Prunerov II, as proposed CEZ, is inconsistent with the requirements of Czech and EU legislation on using the best available techniques (BAT), which require that new coal-fired power plants generate electricity with energy efficiency above 42%. CEZ’s currently planned new blocks will not meet this required efficiency level. Therefore, CEZ cannot obtain approval to build without neglecting this legislation. Lower efficiency means more coal must be more consumed, more pollution will be emitted and economic profitability is decreased.

2nd CEZ claims that BAT would be too expensive. However, expert economic analysis shows in contrast it would be billions cheaper to run.

Until now, CEZ’s main argument for choosing the wasteful, lower-efficiency technology has been the cheaper price. CEZ claims that a less wasteful, more efficient option would be too expensive but has never provided evidence to support this claim. Analysis by the expert company Cityplan found that although the initial investment in building a more efficient unit would be about CZK 2 billion higher, the total cost of generating electricity would be considerably lower. Even adjusting for the higher initial investment, savings of around CZK 10 billion would be possible over the proposed 25 year period compared to CEZ’s lower-efficiency design.

3rd CEZ’s proposal is to build a new facility, not a reconstruction of existing facilities.
CEZ is trying to portray the project as merely a reconstruction of existing facilities, which are subject to less stringent requirements in terms of efficiency and emission levels of pollutants. However, since all operational technology is being completely replaced, this cannot be upheld by enquiry. Many institutions, including the Czech Ministry of the Environment and the European Commission, take the position that new coal-fired power plants must meet a standard of at least 42% net energy efficiency.

4th CEZ’s plan would result in up to 500 000 tons of unnecessary CO2 emissions per year.
Using the technology proposed by CEZ with an energy efficiency of about 38%, compared to using the best available technology, will waste several hundred thousand tons of coal and result in about half a million tonnes of higher CO2 emissions each year. At a time when European efforts to tackle climate change hinge upon leadership to meet an impending deadline for emissions peak around 2015, CEZ’s proposal is both counterproductive and very risky.

5th Higher efficiency = less impact on the health of local people and the climate
CEZ’s proposed reduction of the polluting emissions that burden the population of the Usti Region and communities vulnerable to climate change, although not insignificant, would be far more respectable if energy efficiency requirements are met. However, CEZ unlawfully refused to submit to examination an option using more efficient technology, even though the Ministry of the Environment requested this in the environmental impact assessment.

6th Burning the available coal is possible in a more efficient power plant
CEZ argues that the quality of coal from the Libouš mine is not possible in the higher efficiency, supercritical power station units. This is not true, and moreover Euromatic’s assessment confirmed this when comparing the parameters of CEZ’s Prunéřov and Ledvice power plants. Moreover, if CEZ believes that the coal is of such low quality, it would be a better solution for the environment to simply leave it in the ground rather than to burn more dirty coal.

7th Local towns will not freeze
CEZ claims that using the best available technology would make it impossible to supply Klášterec, Chomutov and other towns with heat for technical reasons involving back-up options in case of emergency. However, it is usual practice in the Czech Republic and in other countries to use gas powered back-up systems in case of emergency. This option would not cause an increase of CO2 emissions because gas back-ups are only in operation when the coal-fired system fails and during its annual summer inspection – therefore, when the gas back-up is operating, the main coal system is not and local people will therefore not be in danger of freezing.

8th CEZ builds the most expensive power plants in the world and plans the only which are of such low efficiency
CEZ’s power plants cost the most on average to build anywhere in the world. Despite this, Prunerov is planned to the only coal-fired power plant in the world which would not meet required efficiency levels. This is confirmed by the IEA: "Only one subcritical plant is included among the dataset of 48 plants of which 40 are from OECD countries, reflecting the declining interest in this out-dated technology with low efficiency (30% to 38%), despite its low capital cost."

9th Allowing a half-hearted upgrade would be a negative precedent
The positive opinion of the Ministry of the Environment in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the proposal to renew Prunerov II power plant using out-dated and less effective technology has become an important negative precedent that could be exploited by other investors in industrial energy projects who are not interested in meeting conditions set to ensure environmental protection and safeguard public health. It is important that other authorities do not continue in such a negative pattern and that CEZ is required to follow pollution prevention laws just like everyone else must.