We Want to Be the Leader of Ecological
Heating in the Region
Jakub Tobola, Sales director of the Veolia Energie Group, talks about the latest trends in the use of
renewable heat sources, planned projects and the benefits of the central heating supply system.
How does Veolia manage to meet
Veolia Energie has decided not to merely
meet Czech and European requirements but
to exceed them. Within the Czech Republic,
there is talk today of the end of coal by 2038.
Our group plans are to end the operation
of coal resources by 2030 and on most of
them we will be able to do so much earlier.
As a major heating company, we want to
be a leader in the Czech Republic in the
ecological transformation of the heating
What projects have already been
implemented in our region and what are
Over the last ten years, we have implemented
projects worth almost 10b CZK. Significant
investments have been made in most of our
resources. Examples are Ostrava, Karviná
and Frýdek-Místek, where we have invested
in greening, desulphurisation and reducing
One of the key areas is the greening of the
heating plant in Karviná where, in the next
two years, we plan a partial gasification of the
heating plant and in 2026 the construction of
a multi-fuel boiler for solid alternative fuels.
The new solution corresponds to the latest
trends in the use of low-emissions sources and
will reduce emissions in Karviná and Havířov.
The Karviná heating plant, which is located
halfway between Karviná and Havířov, is the
main source of heat for the inhabitants of both
towns. The construction of a similar multi-fuel
boiler is already underway in Přerov.
In Frýdek-Místek, we want to fully switch
to biomass and produce heat without
unnecessary CO2 emissions and other
pollutants within two to three years. This will
also lead to highly efficient cogeneration, i.e.
the joint production of heat and electricity. In
addition, we will supplement this technology
with modern gas boilers which would
strengthen production in the event of very
We are cooperating with the MoravianSilesian Region on the concept of a coalfree region by 2030, which also includes
a comprehensive solution for Ostrava. Within
the planned projects, we expect partial
financing from the Modernization Fund.
30 ǀ POSITIV 3/2021
In addition to greening resources, we also
want to use modern alternative methods
of energy production in the region—
photovoltaics, heat pumps or cogeneration
units for the joint production of electricity and
heat. We are also preparing projects for the
production of green hydrogen.
Who are your customers?
Our main partners are cities and
municipalities. These are, for example, the
municipal distribution companies Distep
in Frýdek-Místek or the Havířov heating
company in Havířov, which take heat from
us and distribute it to households. Another
important partner is Heimstaden, which
manages more than 40,000 flats in the region.
I would like to emphasize that our greening
strategy perfectly complements our partners‘
vision of moving away from fossil fuels by
2030 and reducing the carbon footprint.
Many of them today are looking at how
the fuels from which they consume energy
are produced. Today, state institutions,
cities, municipalities, the region and also
private companies are aware of their social
responsibility and want to do their utmost
to protect the environment. Veolia is able
to support them in this approach and fully
ensure a supply of low-emission or green
energy and heat, so clients do not have to
invest in greening from their own financial
resources. Both we and our customers think
the same today. The least possible impact on
the environment and long-term sustainability
are equally important for everyone.
Will greening affect heat prices?
We plan all projects in such a way that they
simultaneously green and heat production
is made more efficient while the existing
reasonable heat prices are maintained.
Although leaving coal generally means large
investments for the Czech heating industry,
our future fuel base will be so diverse that it
will allow us to maintain stable heat prices in
the long run. Customers do not have to worry
about step changes.
Few people realize this today, but one of the
biggest cost items is the price of CO2, i.e.
‘allowances’ to emit emissions from burning
fossil fuels, which large heating plants have
to buy dearly. Therefore, we focus mainly on
secondary and renewable sources which
are not burdened by this cost.
What effect does the central heating
supply have on the air quality in the
This significantly contributes to improving
air quality. The heat sources are green and,
in addition, they are located outside the
However, the deterioration of air quality
in these areas may be caused by the
construction of domestic gas boilers
or local heating plants. Simply put, one
large chimney which produces strictly
controlled, measured and minimized
emissions is better than hundreds of small
domestic boilers with low chimneys that
emit directly into housing. During inversion,
the pollutants remain in the given locality
and pollute the immediate surroundings. It
is documented that one family house with
a solid fuel boiler releases the same amount
of dust into the air as a heating plant in
the production of heat for three hundred
apartments. Even gas heating within the
village is not ideal, for example, from the
point of view of nitrogen oxides. That is why
we should try to maintain district heating
systems, especially in our region.
Is the district heating a Czech specificity?
This method of heating is widespread
not only in the Czech Republic but also
in developed western countries with
comparable climatic conditions. Whether
it is neighboring Austria or Germany,
Denmark, Finland or France.
Within the European Union, the central
heating supply system has been evaluated
as the most efficient and at the same time
cost-effective and it is certainly worth
preserving and further developing it in the
Czech Republic. Unfortunately, if there
were major disconnections caused by the
construction of domestic boiler rooms, the
damage would be irreversible. Systems of
a similar scale are very difficult to restore
and their new construction is extremely
difficult and expensive.
Mr Tobola, thank you for the interview.