Coal is the only
significant indigenous energy resource in the Czech Republic. The country’s
economically recoverable coal reserves have been estimated at some 2.33 billion
tonnes. Brown coal, which accounts for more than 73 % of these resources, is
mainly produced in north - western Bohemia, whilst hard coal is mined in northern
Moravia. Significant quantities of hard coal are exported to Austria, Slovakia
consumption, which amounted to 60.8 Mtce in 2012, was supplied as follows: 40.6
% coal (total 24.7 Mtce, of which hard coal 5.9 Mtce and brown coal 18.8 Mtce),
15.8 % natural gas (9.6 Mtce) and 20.4 % oil (12.4 Mtce). This primary energy
mix is supplemented by nuclear energy with an 18.6 % share (11.3 Mtce), as well
as by renewables and hydroelectric power, which together account for some 6.5 %
(4.0 Mtce), and 0.5 % (0.3 Mtce) other fuels and - 2.4 % (- 1.5 Mtce) as net
exports of electricity.
Republic’s dependence on energy imports has been quite modest to date; 28.5 %
of energy demand is met by imports. However, imports are structurally unbalanced.
The country’s dependence on oil is about 95 %, and similarly for natural gas. A
number of direct and indirect measures must be adopted to prevent any further increase
in energy imports, including: increased energy efficiency, the promotion of
renewable energy sources in areas where their use is effective and helps to
reach a 13 % share in final energy consumption in 2020 and the efficient use of
indigenous solid fuel resources, mainly brown coal.
approximately 52.4 % of total gross electricity production (87.6 TWh) was
generated from coal, 34.6 % from nuclear energy and 9.3 % from renewable
sources. Conventional coal - fired power stations have a total capacity of
approximately 10.8 GW. The Czech electricity market has been fully liberalised
since 2006 and the gasmarket since 2007.
There are five coal mining companies in the Czech Republic: OSTRAVSKO - KARVINSKÉ DOLY, the only hard coal producer, and four brown coal companies, SEVEROČESKÉ DOLY, owned by ČEZ and the biggest producer of brown coal, VRŠANSKÁ UHELNÁ, with coal reserves to last until 2055, SEVERNÍ ENERGETICKÁ (Sev.en – formerly LITVÍNOVSKÁ UHELNÁ) with the largest brown coal reserves in the Czech Republic, and SOKOLOVSKÁ UHELNÁ, the smallest brown coal company. All of these coal mining companies have been privatised. ČEZ is the largest coal consumer in the Czech Republic and the most important Czech supplier of electricity. In 2012, ČEZ generated 64 TWh, i.e. 73 % of the country’s electricity generation. The ČEZ Group is listed on the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges, although remains majority state - owned.
The Czech Republic
has 181 million tonnes of economically recoverable hard coal reserves. The
largest hard coal deposits are located in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. With
an area of 6 500 square kilometres, this coal basin ranks among the largest in
Europe. A major part is located in Poland, while about one sixth (1 200 square kilometres)
lies in the Czech Republic where it is called the Ostrava - Karviná Basin
(after the city of Ostrava and the town of Karviná). Here, OSTRAVSKO –
KARVINSKÉ DOLY (OKD) extracts hard coal from deep mines. In 2012, saleable
output was 11.4 million tonnes, with a workforce of 12 866 own employees and 16
432 contractors. Coal is currently extracted at four deep mines: Karviná, ČSM, Darkov
and Paskov. The worked seams in Ostrava at the Paskov colliery range in
thickness from 0.8 to 1.6 metres. The thickness of the Karviná seams ranges
from 1.5 to 6.5 metres. Longwall working with shearer loaders (90.2 %) and
ploughs (9.8 %) is employed, combined with controlled caving. Mechanical
supports (95.1 %) and individual hydraulic props (4.9 %) are used to support
the coalfaces. At each of the collieries, the extracted coal is processed in
preparation plants where it is graded as coking coal or steam coal, based on
its quality parameters.
Brown coal and lignite
The Czech Republic
has 873 million tonnes of economically recoverable brown coal and lignite
reserves. In addition to a coal basin in northern Bohemia and another near the town
of Sokolov, there are also coalfields in the south of the country, although
they are not economically viable. Elsewhere, production of brown coal totalled
43.5 million tonnes in 2012, providing an important contribution to the
country’s energy supply. Brown coal production in the Czech Republic has been
quite stable in recent years, ranging from around 44 to 49 million tonnes.
The main brown coal
deposit and the largest mining area, covering 1 400 square kilometres, is the
Northern Bohemian Brown Coal Basin, which is located in the foothills of the
Krušné hory mountains, along the border with Germany (Saxony), in the vicinity
of the towns of Kadaň, Chomutov, Most, Teplice and Ústí nad Labem. The seams in
this area extend to depths up to 400 metres and are between 15 and 30 metres
Brown coal is
extracted in the central part of the Northern Bohemian Brown Coal Basin by two
mining companies, VRŠANSKÁ UHELNÁ (VUAS) and SEVERNÍ ENERGETICKÁ (Sev.en –
formerly LITVÍNOVSKÁ UHELNÁ or LUAS). In 2012, VUAS extracted 8.9 million
tonnes of brown coal at the Vršany site. LUAS extracted 4.6 million tonnes of
brown coal at the ČSA site. ČSA boasts the largest brown coal reserves in the
Czech Republic – sufficient to support coal mining to 2100 and beyond. However,
extraction is curtailed by mining limits imposed in 1991. Within the current
mining limits, extraction will last until 2022. However, beyond the mining
limits lie an estimated 750 million tonnes of high - quality brown coal. In
2012, VUAS had a total workforce of 850 and LUAS had 590 employees.
The only deep brown
coal mine in the Czech Republic, Centrum, is also located in the central part
of the Northern Bohemian Brown Coal Basin. In 2012, some 300 employees extracted
about 0.4 million tonnes of brown coal there.
the brown coal is processed at the Komořany preparation plant, which supplies a
broad range of coal products. Graded, pulverised and single – purpose products
are delivered to power stations, the heat supply industry and households. Fuels
blended for the energy sector are supplied to power stations (Počerady,
Chvaletice, Mělník, Poříčí, Opatovice and Hodonín), CHP plants and energy
The brown coal
company SEVEROČESKÉ DOLY (SD) based at Chomutov operates in the north - western
part of the Northern Bohemian Brown Coal Basin, to the east of the town of
Most. SD extracts brown coal at two sites, namely Doly Nástup Tušimice and Doly
Bílina. A total of 22.8 million tonnes was produced in 2012, increasing SD’s
share in national brown coal production to almost 50 %.
The Doly Nástup
Tušimice brown coal mining area is located between the towns of Chomutov and
Kadaň and consists of one large surface mine with an average annual output of 13
million tonnes. After preparation at the Tušimice crushing plant, most of the
product is supplied to power stations operated by ČEZ.
The Bílina brown
coal mining area has one surface mine. Doly Bílina is located between the towns
of Bílina and Duchcov. More than 9.5 million tonnes of brown coal are produced
each year and transported to the Ledvice preparation plant before being
delivered to power stations, industries and households.
In 2012, the SD
group had a total workforce of 5 145.
Located in western Bohemia, in the western part of the coalfield below the Krušné hory mountains, the brown coal basin around the town of Sokolov is mined by SOKOLOVSKÁ UHELNÁ (SU). The company operates two surface mines, the Družba and Jiří mines. In 2012, its output was 6.7 million tonnes.
SU’s key products
include electricity and heat, graded coal, steam coal and chemical products
produced during coal gasification. Brown coal from the Sokolov area is mainly
used for power and heat generation. SU generates electricity in two of its own
power plants: the Vřesová IGCC plant (2 x 200 MWe) and a CHP plant (5 x 270
MWt), which have a combined annual output of 3.5 TWh. Most of the heat produced
is consumed by the company itself, although some is supplied to the towns of
Karlovy Vary, Nejdek, Chodov and Nová Role. The company also pursues environmental
activities, notably the reclamation of land affected by surface mining, and
waste processing and disposal. SU’s operations employed a total workforce of 4
070 in 2012.
A smaller deposit
of some 200 million tonnes of workable lignite is located in southern Moravia near
the town of Hodonín. Approximately 0.5 million tonnes of lignite per year from
underground mines were produced there. Lignite production stopped in 2010.
The Czech brown coal industry has always played an important role in the national economy. According to the current National Energy Concept, coal is expected to remain an important energy resource in the Czech Republic, playing a significant role in the Czech energy mix. The Czech Republic devotes great attention to the clean use of brown coal. A very good example is the comprehensive programme to renovate and develop coal - fired power stations in northern Bohemia. The 800 MW Tušimice power station has been renovated; its CO2 emissions have been significantly reduced and its life has been extended to 2035. September 2012 saw the launch of the renovation of the Prunéřov power station, with the objective of reducing emissions by 40 % and extending its life by 25 years. The Ledvice power station is under construction and is expected to be commissioned in 2014 with a planned life of 40 years.