Czech energy group CEZ started construction of the first large Czech natural gas-fired steam and gas power plant in Pocerady, northern Bohemia, on 25 March. It will cost Kc20 bn and is to be completed in 2013, CEZ said.

The new 840 MW unit will be in operation mainly at peak times (working days from around 6:00 to 22:00), and is likely to be shut down during the night. It will be built on the site of the brown coal-fired power plant already there whose current installed capacity is 1000 MW, the second largest coal-fired facility operated by CEZ. The new facility is to be built by Skoda Praha, while turbines will be supplied by Siemens and Skoda Power.

CEZ describes the new source as eco-friendly owing to lower emissions and higher thermal efficiency – around 57 percent compared to 40 percent for state-of-the-art coal-fired power plants. The amount of emissions will not go down, however, because the facility would have to replace some of the old coal-fired facilities, which CEZ does not plan to do any time soon.

Power production is scheduled to start in July 2013. Natural gas makes up around 1.5 percent of Czech electricity production, a share that will grow to about 5 percent when the Pocerady power plant is completed. Currently, Czech thermal power plants have an installed capacity of some 12 000 MW, while its two nuclear power plants have an output of 3880 MW.