4. 4. 2023
Biomethane can be one of the key sources of community energy in the Czech Republic
According to forecasts, community energy could cover almost 80 percent of all electricity consumption of Czech households. Although a forthcoming amendment could be a first step towards shared electricity, more sophisticated legislation to develop community energy is not yet available. In addition to photovoltaics, the potential of other community sources, such as biomethane plants, should be able to be effectively realized in the future.
Electricity and gas prices and climate protection efforts. These are the most pressing social issues at the moment and also the main arguments for the development of community energy. It is a system of community ownership of renewable resources for energy production. Unlike conventional power plants owned by commercial companies, the primary objective of these community plants is not profit, but rather benefits for the community.
In the Czech Republic, this method of electricity production has great potential. According to an analysis by EGÚ Brno, community-owned solar and wind power plants alone could generate over 12.5 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, which is almost 80 percent of all electricity consumption of Czech households. While the study focused only on municipalities and residential buildings, the overall potential for community energy is actually much higher.
Communities can benefit from biomethane
Photovoltaic power plants are most often mentioned as a source of electricity production in the context of community energy, but they should be complemented by other RE sources. This includes, for example, biogas plants, which usually belong to an association of municipalities. There are about 400 of them in operation in the Czech Republic, but the production of biomethane and its injection into the gas network is done only in small number of them.
One of these is the biomethane plant in Litomyšl, which we completed together with ZDCHP Litomyšl. The plant on the cooperative’s premises uses the technology of purifying biogas to natural gas quality. “Biomethane is then injected into the gas network, with the aim of offering this energy source to customers in the future. Although there are currently only two biomethane stations in the Czech Republic, practice abroad shows that they can be quite crucial in terms of community energy in the future. We believe that the project in Litomyšl will be an inspiration for other entities in the sector,” says Monika Zitterbartová, Executive Director of HUTIRA green gas.
Czech Republic is one step closer to energy sharing
The lack of legislation in the Czech Republic hinders faster development. The relevant amendment to the Energy Act must first be approved by the Parliament. The fundamental change it will bring is the elimination of the need to consume energy at the facility where it was produced. It should therefore allow the electricity produced to be shared between individual distribution points and allow the surplus energy produced to be managed efficiently. If everything goes smoothly, it could be valid from the beginning of next year.