The Czech Republic has already developed a major part of its small hydro potential. Nevertheless, systematic growth in installed capacity of 2.5 MW per year was reported in the last 10 years. In 2010, the Czech Republic had 1,452 small hydropower plants and a total installed capacity of 297 MWe and generating 1,159 GWh per year. By 2020, the aim is to have 1,645 small hydropower plants with a total installed capacity of 340 MW (and with the possibility of generating 1,210 GWh per year18 (Liu et al. 2013).
One of the main obstacles in the use of small hydropower plants for the generation of electricity in the Czech Republic is the costs of operation and maintenance, which pushes the price upward. The government considered renewable energy as a complementary source of energy, and for this reason, the priority is given to the use of solid fuels and nuclear energy for the generation of electricity. Another obstacle is the opposition of the public opinion to construct large hydro- power plant in the country. Large hydropower schemes have a negative impact on fish and other wildlife in and along the affected rivers, as well as residents nearby whose property might be submerged or whose livelihood might depend on the affected wildlife. It is difficult to prevent such construction projects from damag- ing the local environment.
Hydropower Installed Capacity
In 2012, the final installed hydroelectric capacity in the Czech Republic was 1,065 MW; this represents an increase of only 0.7 % with respect to 2011 and 6.5 % with respect to 2003. In the past 10 years, the hydropower capacity in the Czech Republic increased from 1,000 MW in 2003 to 1,065 MW in 2012. The hydro- power capacity installed represents 5.15 % of the total installed capacity of the country in 2012 and 26.13 % of the total renewables capacity installed in that year.
According to the world’s hydropower installed capacity, the country occupies the place 75 (0.11 % of the world total). Within the European region, the coun- try occupies the place 23 (0.63 % of the total). In the past ten years, the country hydropower capacity increased in nine years, but in all of them in a very small amount (0.59 % as average).
Hydropower Electricity Generation
According to Fig. 3.18, the participation of hydropower in the generation of elec- tricity in the country is 3.20 %. Analyzing the evolution of the hydropower sector in the country in the past ten years, it is expected that the participation of this type of energy source in the country’s generation of electricity during the coming years will continue to be very small.
The evolution in the use of hydropower for the generation of electricity in the Czech Republic during the period 2008–2012 is shown in Fig. 3.19.
According to Fig. 3.19, the use of hydropower plants for the generation of electricity in the Czech Republic during the period 2008–2012 increased 10.9 %. In 2012, according to the World Bank database, the total electricity produced in the country using hydropower plants represented 2.6 % of the total electricity generated in that year. It is expected that the participation of hydropower in the energy mix of the country will continue to be relatively small during the coming years, due to the relative small hydro potential that exist in the Czech Republic and the role that the government gave to the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy for the generation of electricity. The only planned extensions to the Czech Republic’s hydropower generating capacity comprise two small hydropower plants presently under construction: a 5-MW plant at Litomerice on the Elbe River and a 0.5-MW plant at Melnik. Taking into account that over half of the existing small hydro- power plants operating in the country use obsolete technology, these plants were constructed during the period 1920–1950, the government approved plans to modernize the technology of these plants, with the aim of improving efficiency by up to 15 %.