At the entrance to the family home, there is a rather inconspicuous box and a propeller. Thanks to this installation, however, it is pleasant inside the house both in winter and in summer. “It can both heat and heat water, and basically cool this whole building. That means this house only needs a heat pump and can provide year-round thermal comfort” , explains Robert Vágner, heat pump specialist at IVT.
This is exactly the method of heating state media. It offers grants, up to 180,000 crowns, 50,000 more. But heat pumps are now a rare commodity, just like solar panels or boilers. The equipment and the people who could install it are missing.
“If you’ve ordered a heat pump by, say, the end of March, you’ll be lucky to get it this year. Last year we got hundreds of requests in March, this year there are has thousands,” Vágner explained.
The increase in subsidies responds to other decisions, the Ministry of the Environment will no longer support gas boilers. It’s expensive and most of it comes from Russia. According to Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková (for KDU-ČSL), the impacts will not be dramatic. About a quarter of applicants for boiler aid wanted a gas boiler, most are already opting for a heat pump.
“When I look at New Green Savings, there were few, about a tenth of these applications for gas boilers, and even those who have applied and want to change their application now, we will make it possible in a very simple mode,” confirms Hubackova.
The diversion of gas is also linked to the extension of the replacement time for non-ecological 1st and 2nd class boilers by two years, until September 2024. Also because the wait for a replacement can be long.
Municipalities hope that Russia will not cut gas supply
Some industries are also dependent on the gas supply – mainly food producers, glassmakers and, for example, porcelain factories. They are currently working on how they could continue to operate when gas supplies from Russia are cut off. And some municipalities are in a similar situation. For example, the Hejnice housing estate is supplied with heat and hot water by the municipal heating plant, which is gas-fired.
“There are about 500 apartments depending on it and connected to it, which on average two and a half people per apartment costs about a thousand to 1200 people living there”, calculated the mayor of Hejnice Jaroslav Demčák (For better Hejnice ) .
The local kindergarten is also connected to the Hejnice heating plant. In addition to gas, it also consumes electricity, which is generated as a byproduct of gas combustion. Already in the fall, when their main gas supplier ended, they were thinking about alternatives. With the performance of the heating installation, however, the situation has no clear solution at the moment.
“It takes a long time to build a coal-fired boiler room and the second thing is that switching to coal is not normal for many people at the moment. Chips are probably unrealistic in Hejnice, because it seems that we should consume around one truck a day in the winter, which is unrealistic to even find such an amount. At this power, we would have had to drill heat pumps to Australia and back, and it probably wouldn’t work anyway,” says the mayor Demcak.
They just have to hope that the gas supply will continue, gas remaining for them the best solution.
Glassworks are also dependent on gas
The situation is very similar in the Novosad & son Harrachov glassworks and mini-brewery. They are extremely dependent on natural gas, they use it to heat furnaces and buildings. Their costs have already increased several times from year to year. In the first three months they paid more for gas than in all of last year combined. If the supply is interrupted, they don’t have a quick fix.
“I’m really worried about this, because our consumption is high, we actually consume the same amount of gas in one day as a normal family home consumes in an entire year. So our consumption is enormous, and in the event of a break supply, we are aware that we would probably be on the front line. But in this case, our company employs around 90 people and I think that we would have to send more than half of them home”, specifies the director of the glassworks Petr Novosad.
However, it is difficult to predict whether Russia will end up cutting off the gas or not. According to energy analyst Pavel Farkač, the taps will not be fully tightened, as this will seriously damage both sides. However, gas consultant Vratislav Ludvík is skeptical. “The problem is that we don’t know if the Russian is going to cut the gas or if we will have time to disconnect from it, and I’m afraid A is right.”
So far the gas is arriving in Europe without any problems. The turning point will be the end of the month when Russia should be paid for it.
In the event of a breakdown, we would last 40 days with gas
The gas consumption in the underground storage tanks makes it possible to balance the consumption during the heating season. In the event of a total disruption of supply, our current stocks would last approximately 40 days at average consumption. Similar to Slovakia or Austria. However, if there is a real supply disruption, the State will first reduce the gas consumption of large customers. On the contrary, households would only be affected by the restrictions as a last resort. For households alone, current gas supplies would last much longer, more than six months.
But already, the gas companies have started to fill the tanks again. More than 320 million cubic meters of gas have already been transported to storage this year. This is about six times more than the same period in previous years.
In 2020, each Czech consumed 815 cubic meters of gas. Czech consumption reaches the European average, which is close to 500 cubic meters per person. The Netherlands has the most gas need per capita in Europe. In 2020, on average, each person consumed 2510 cubic meters of gas there. On the other hand, Sweden has a consumption more than thirty times lower, the average Swede only needing 75 cubic meters.