The new Visegrad+ platform set up today in Prague aims to prevent a new coal curtain in Europe.
The share of renewables in all four Visegrad countries or V4 countires (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) is one of the lowest in the EU-28 and well below the EU average [Eurstat 2017]. Energy policy designers from V4 countries do not plan to change this in the upcoming decade, although all the countries have great renewables potential, according to the data provided by the experts of the renewable associations. With the very new exemption of Slovakia, none of the ex-communist countries have adopted clear plans of how to quit coal, like almost all Western European countries have. The new Visegrad+ platform set up today in Prague has an ambition to change this.
Key renewable associations and climate policy think-tanks from the four Visegrad countries and Austria signed today the Memorandum of Understanding. The platform is open to wider cooperation and has plans to expand towards other Central and East European countries once it gets well established.
The aim of the Visegrad+, newly set-up platform today in Prague, is to accelerate the pace of the transformation of the Visegrad region's energy systems towards renewable and sustainable economies. E3G Senior Associate Ada Amon said,
We offer our expertise and first-hand experience to the new Commission to balance the voice of 4 Visegrad governments holding back the European climate ambition,
The share of renewable energy sources both on total energy consumption and on electricity production is one of the lowest in EU-28, well below the EU average, in all four Visegrad countries. Florian Maringer, Managing Director of Austrian Renewable Energy Association said,
There is not enough wind and solar potential, energy policy designers in all Visegrad countries sometimes say. It reminds me of Austria 25 years ago when some of our politicians called our country 'no wind country'. But now we add up to 400 megawatts of wind turbines annually. Except Poland, this is more than each of the Visegrad countries installed during the last 20 years.
Stepan Chalupa, Chairman of Czech Renewable Energy Chamber said,
There is much higher potential in our countries, than we see put in NECPs drafts. We just need the proper ambition and not business as usual scenarios to be called our national plan. In Czechia, we can have at least quarter of our electricity from clean sources by 2030, but Mr. Babis' government suggests having only half of it.
Gábor Orbán, director of Energiaklub said,
The Hungarian government banned the use of wind power in 2016 and the new NECP is not even considering changing this position. It is easier to get a permit for a new nuclear power plant in Hungary.
Veronika Galekova, Director of Slovakian Association of Photovoltaic Industry and Renewables, said,
Seems like we have a new curtain in Europe but made of coal this time. If you have a look at the European map, you see how European countries plan to deal with coal. All Western European countries have their coal phase-out plans, except Greece. At the same time, none of post-communist countries has a plan how to quit coal (in Hungary the plan is being discussed).
Irena Gajewska from Polish Wind Association said today,
By 2035 Poland will need to phase-out 20 out of 41 gigawatts (GW) of whole power system based almost entirely on coal. It is a great opportunity to replace old dirty power plants by wind, both onshore and offshore, photovoltaics and other renewables. In 2030 we can have almost 40 % of our electricity based on renewable sources.