Czechia’s carbon-intensive economy needs to overcome various challenges to move closer to climate neutrality. As a transit country with a high share of manufacturing in GDP, Czechia is currently witnessing some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the EU. This is mostly due to a significant reliance on coal and a less than optimal level of energy efficiency.
There is a huge potential in hydro power due to the country’s relief and with a relatively high number of sunshine hours and a moderate climate the solar energy could also be used more extensively. The well developed industrialised economy provides prospects for sustainable energy developments but the demographic challenges are yet to be overcome.
Czech Republic is in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia. It covers an area of 78 867 km2 and has a population of 10.56 million people. The largest city and capital is Prague, the official language is Czech.
Coal still provides most of the fuel used in Czech power generation. While Czech coal production has declined from 13 million tons in 2007 to 8 million tons in 2017, coal imports are increasing, especially from Poland and Germany. The Czech Republic has no significant production of natural gas or oil and is fully dependent on gas and oil imports. The majority of oil and gas is imported via Germany.
The Czech government has placed a priority on nuclear power. The country’s June 2015 Czech National Action Plan for Nuclear Energy states that nuclear energy should constitute about 50% of the Czech energy mix by 2040. The Czech Republic has two nuclear power plants at Dukovany and Temelin. Russia provides fuel for both plants.
Renewable energy sources accounted for 9.4% of the total primary energy supply; this is made up of biofuels and waste (8.6%), solar (0.5%), hydro (0.2%) and wind (0.1%). Renewable energy production grew by 95.7% over the ten years to 2015, mainly from biofuels and waste, new hydro, and solar, the result of generous support mechanisms and a gradual increase in competitiveness compared with conventional sources of energy.
The Bohemian Massif occupies the major portion of the Czech Republic. It consists of a large, roughly ovoid elevated basin (the Bohemian Plateau) encircled by mountains. In the east the Outer Carpathian Depressions, known to geographers as the Moravian-Silesian Beskids, include the valleys of the upper Oder and Morava rivers and the headstreams of the Dyje. The Elbe and the Vltava are the principal navigable rivers in the Czech Republic, with Děčín and Prague as their chief ports, respectively.
The Czech climate is mixed. Continental influences are marked by large fluctuations in both temperature and precipitation, while moderating oceanic influences diminish from west to east. In general, temperatures decrease with increasing elevation but are relatively uniform across the lower portions of the country.
The Czech Republic has one of the most developed and industrialised economies in Central and Eastern Europe. Czech industry is focused on metallurgy, engineering, automobiles, electronics, chemistry, food and beverage processing, and production of glass, medicines, textile and paper. Industry makes up 41% of the GDP. The largest part of the country’s GDP comes from the service sector (55%).
Long-term challenges include dealing with a rapidly aging population, a shortage of skilled workers, a lagging education system, funding an unsustainable pension and health care system, and diversifying away from manufacturing and toward a more high-tech, services-based, knowledge economy.
Owing to terrain, settlement patterns, former federal policies, and geographic orientation toward western Europe, the Czech Republic possesses an extensive transportation system. Rail lines serve all regions of the country, link the republic with its neighbours, and connect Prague with most major European cities. Road transport is becoming one of the main consumer of energy, as the number of conventional motor vehicles has increased.