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CEZ plans new spending, wider bio-fuel use to cut carbon output

CEZ AS, the largest power company in the Czech Republic, plans to triple its electricity production from renewable sources of energy, such as wind and water, by 2020 as it tries to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

CEZ AS said it will spend 17 billion koruna ($813 million) in addition to the money already earmarked for upgrades. The measures, which also include investing in power projects outside the country, will cut the company's output of 550 kilograms (1,213 pounds) of carbon dioxide for each megawatt of electricity it produces by 15%, CEZ said yesterday in a filing to the Prague Stock Exchange.

The plan calls for increasing the production of power from renewable sources of energy to 5.1 terawatt hours by 2020 from 1.7 terawatt hours in 2005. The production of electricity from water, bio-fuels and solar energy now accounts for about 4% of CEZ's total output, according to the company's annual report. CEZ's plan for reducing carbon dioxide is linked to European Union efforts to fight global climate changes. The EU is setting tighter targets for cutting greenhouse gases and curbing the use of fossil fuels, spurring a debate about the extra costs industries will have to pay.

The measures described in the regulatory filing are increasing energy efficiency, building more wind generators and using agriculture’s products as fuel in some of the company's existing power plants. CEZ will also build a 5-megawatt plant in the Czech town of Hodonin for burning bio-fuels. The plan also includes upgrades to existing hydropower plants. (Bloomberg)