The annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has been a tradition at the ČEZ Group for several years now, last year being no exception. The ČEZ Group succeeded in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 15% year-on-year, meaning a reduction of one-fifth in the past three years. Alongside its progressing decarbonisation, the company increased the generation of energy from renewable sources by more than 7% and accelerated the construction of public charging points for electric cars by 50%. The current Sustainable Development Report maps out the individual steps that ČEZ has taken on the road to clean energy. The report also defines ambitious targets for the future within Vision 2030 Clean Energy for Tomorrow, which was announced this year.
The ČEZ Group takes the threat of global warming seriously. In 2015, for example, it actively subscribed to the conclusions of the Paris Accord and undertook to achieve carbon-neutral production by the middle of the century. We have in the past five years succeeded in reducing the emission intensity of the production portfolio by 25%. Climate change, however, demands a more radical and faster approach, and for this reason ČEZ presented its accelerated strategy in May of this year. The strategy has been designed to achieve ambitious targets in the sphere of decarbonisation and environmental protection by the end of the decade. Specifically, for example, the ČEZ Group will by 2025 reduce CO2 emissions on the MWh of electricity generated by 33% in comparison with the year 2018.
In addition to the environment, the new vision also considers social relations and the method of governance at the company. The Sustainable Development Report has for the third year now provided detailed information about how the ČEZ Group is run in more than 130 indicators according to the international methodology of GRI Standards and how successful it has been in achieving individual targets.
“Our new Vision 2030 Clean Energy for Tomorrow is built on ambitious targets that fully reflect the necessary transformation of the energy industry towards low emissions. At the same time, however, it takes account of our efforts to date in terms of sustainable development, which set out clear parameters within which the set targets can actually be achieved. We have, for example, undertaken to reduce the share of electricity generation from coal from almost 40% to around 12% within a decade. At the same time, we are preparing for the construction of large renewable energy sources in the Czech Republic. We want to deploy these clean sources, with a capacity of up to 6,000 MW, within ten years,” says Daniel Beneš, Director General and Chair of the Board of Directors at ČEZ.
Emissions of greenhouse gases and other substances that pollute the air are for that matter the most significant values which ČEZ monitors in its Sustainable Development Reports. We succeeded in reducing emissions of SO2 by 32.2%, NOX by 16%, and solid harmful pollutants by 16.8% year-on-year. The key events having an impact on the reduction of emissions from combustion sources in 2020 included, for example, the permanent shutdown of the Prunéřov I coal power plant, with an installed output of 440 MW, the transfer of Block B9 at the Mělník power plant and Block B2 of the Dětmarovice power plant to back-up source regime, with an actual limitation of generation, and the replacement of heat generation using coal sources with gas sources at the Dvůr Králové heat-production plant and the Dětmarovice power plant.
Water is fundamental in the generation of electricity, and for this reason we have long focused on the effective use of this essential material. We reduced water consumption by more than 10% in 2020 and reduced the volume of water used for generated electricity and heat by more than 6%.
Helping save resources and achieving clean transport in cities
In addition to reducing its own emissions, the ČEZ Group helps others with climate measures, for example by making energy savings for clients in industry, for municipalities, and for state administration. Energy-saving projects (EPC) from ČEZ ESCO saved customers CZK 232 million in 2020, and from the environmental perspective, the energy saving represents a reduction in CO2 emissions of 36,700 tons. ČEZ ESCO carried out the biggest energy-saving project in the Czech Republic in its history for the Czech Technical University in Prague. The school therefore saves almost CZK 22 million on operations every year. There were 660 photovoltaic units and 514 heat pumps installed in 2020 with the aim of making energy savings.
ČEZ also confirmed its position as the operator of the largest network of public charging points for electric cars in the Czech Republic in 2020. In spite of the complications brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we increased the tempo of deploying charging points, with the amount of energy supplied to electric cars via ČEZ charging points rising by 24%. In the future, ČEZ plans to expand its business activity in the production of batteries, electromobility, and hydrogen.
We devote energy to care for employees, customers, and the needy
Although climate measures are outwardly the most visible and most frequently observed criteria, ČEZ also devotes considerable attention to other aspects of sustainable business activity. These are defined by ESG criteria (Environment, Social, Governance). Last year, ČEZ put a great deal of effort into education and other support for employees in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic; for example, training, a psychological telephone line, and the chance to discuss medical issues with experts. As far as diversity is concerned, we were able to increase the proportion of women in management and control bodies at the ČEZ Group from 11% to 14%, and we want to continue this trend into the future. The planned closure of coal operations means that we are also involved in the transfer of employees to other work positions and in providing them with the required retraining. As has become the tradition, we involve employees in sustainable activities, such as volunteer days and helping those in need. We are systematically improving customer services, too, and last year defended our position as the most trustworthy brand of energy supplier. In spite of the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to ensure quality care for our customers and keep the level of customer satisfaction at 96%.
The Sustainable Development Report for the year 2020 can be read HERE.
Not long ago CEZ Group has also published a new sustainability strategy, as we reported here.