Czech govt to give heating plants more emissions leeway to save gas

PRAGUE (Reuters) -The Czech government will initiate measures that will allow heating plants to use different fuels other than gas, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Wednesday, as the country seeks way to deal with Europe’s energy crisis.

The move will let heating plants use fuels like coal or light heating oils even as they exceed allowed emissions.

“The Industry ministry will declare a state of preventing a shortage in heating sector on Sept. 5, which will enable heating plants to use other fuels than gas without facing sanctions or some protracted approval process,” Fiala said.

“This measure also has significant impact on our gas reserves.”

The Czech Republic was nearly fully dependent on Russia for gas before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February pushed it to seek alternative supply sources, such as LNG.

It has also filled its gas storage tanks, which cover less than half the country’s annual consumption, to more than 80% of capacity ahead of the coming heating season.

The Czech government like others around Europe has been trying to come up with initiatives to help households and firms hit by the energy crisis and soaring prices.

Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said on Wednesday he aimed for a programme to help energy-intensive firms that could cost 25 billion to 28 billion crowns. ($1.14 billion).

Fiala said last week the government had set aside 177 billion crowns, or nearly 3% of gross domestic product, in total to help households cope with soaring energy bills and inflation.

($1 = 24.4750 Czech crowns)

(Reporting by Jason Hovet and Robert MullerEditing by Tomasz Janowski)

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