District heating is an important sector in the energy industry of the Czech Republic, providing heat needs to 1.7 million households and a significant share of industrial heat demand.
The Czech Republic is one of the countries with a traditionally high share of district heating systems. In the European context, due to the penetration of 41% of households, the district heating system can be described as highly developed, although there is still considerable space for improvement in terms of distribution network and technology efficiency.
The heating networks reach a length of about 7,5 thousand kilometres. Due to the length of heating networks and the fact that almost 15% of heat networks are still steam pipe there is a great potential for heat savings in the heat distribution.
District heating has to face many challenges today. The most significant is the slightly decreasing heat consumption over the long term. This is due to lower demand for heat from both the industry (the importance of heavy industry is decreasing, companies are investing in energy savings) and households (thermal insulation of houses, disconnection from district heating systems, installation of measuring and control devices). Warm weather, higher prices and unfavourable economic situation was also reflected in the consumption decrease, mainly in the residential sector. In terms of thermal energy supply to individual sectors, supply to households (40%) and the service sector (25%) dominate, the supplies to industry account for 35%.
Growing regulatory requirements especially for environmental protection (emission limits, involvement in emission allowance trading) have significant impact on the heating sector. In addition, there is a need for investment in heating infrastructure or in recent years a decreasing price of electricity.
District heating sector faces long-term economic discrimination compared to a local heat production. This market distortion has now escalated due to the reform of the emission market, which was endorsed by the European Council in February this year. The price of greenhouse gas emission allowances increased almost four times in one year.
Heating plant operators invested more than EUR 770 million in the greening of their plants between 2013 and 2017 and significantly reduced emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dust in the air. Currently the biggest polluters are local heating and household boilers.
With regard to the fuel mix of heat produced by the CHP (75%), the dominant fuel is brown coal, which makes up more than half of the fuel consumption. For heat produced in a separate mode of production the dominant fuel is natural gas.
KeepWarm is an EU-funded project whose objective is to accelerate cost-effective investments in the modernisation of District Heating Systems (DHS). It brings together eleven project partners from a variety of relevant sectors (energy agencies, national DHS associations, agricultural chambers, research institutes, consultancies on energy efficiency and NGOs) across Central and Eastern Europe.
The aim of the initiative, launched in April 2018, is to modernise DHS around the whole region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving system operations and promoting a switch to less-polluting sources, like renewables. The project partners strive to ensure that best practices for environmental-friendlier heating and cooling will be taken up across Europe, replicating KeepWarm’s approach in other countries and regions, even beyond the end of the project in September 2020.
The tailor made Capacity Building programm for Czech Republic covers training topics identified by Czech Republic DHS operators and staff during the needs assessment phase. The highest priorities have been given to the four our of five topic groups:
- Technical topics
- RES and EE topics including waste to energy aspects
- Financing topics
- Management topics
Country project partner
The Association for District Heating of the Czech Republic is an interest group of legal entities and entrepreneurs in the field of heat supply. It is promoting the development of district heating systems and combined heat and power generation as an effective and environment-friendly way of primary fuel energy utilisation. Within KeepWarm TSCR supports the development of pilot DHS projects in the Czech Republic and is responsible for the Sustainable Adoption Roadmap.
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