Děčín‘s geothermal source has won the Project of the Decade award in the journalist category, placing second in the energy experts category. 'The geothermal source in Děčín was completed in 2002 and in its 10 years of operation, the source has saved more than 190,000 tons of CO2 emissions. This is an amount equivalent to 60 block gas boiler rooms with 60 smokestacks – what we have in Děčín instead is a mere one on the right bank', the Chairman of the Board of Directors of MVV Energie CZ a.s. Václav Hrach, Ph.D. commented on the victory.
The geothermal source on the right bank of the Elbe river replaced the original coal heating plant and several coal-fired boilers, as required by City of Děčín. As a result, the project has brought environmental improvements for the town of Děčín, Elbe Sandstones Protected Landscape Area as well as for the nearby Czech Switzerland National Park and still significantly contributes to public health throughout the region. "Construction of the geothermal source lasted four years and the investments totalled 531 million CZK. Yet, the benefits for the residents of the town and the region are irreplaceable," said Václav Hrach.
In the early 1990s, the City of Děčín reconsidered its heating concept. Modern gas heating plants and cogeneration units were built on the left bank of the river; subsequently, a geothermal source was constructed on the right bank. To date, the geothermal source in Děčín using water from an underground lake is the only source of this kind in the Czech Republic.
TERMO Děčín a.s. operates four heating plants in the town to supply about 11,000 households and over 100 customers in the tertiary sector and industry. The geothermal source supplies customers from the right-bank part of the town, namely about 4,700 households. In addition to bringing about a new solution to central heating system in Děčín, the construction of the geothermal source in Benešovská street in Děčín lead to a great improvement in the environment by improving the quality of air in town. The geothermal source replaced several boiler blocks from the right-bank part of Děčín powered by lignite or heavy fuel oil. Right on the Benešovská street, the only thing left from the original coal-fired heating plant is the stack and two buildings that are now used for the geothermal source system. Total investment costs of the project at the time of construction totalled 531 million CZK.
Project funding was secured by MVV Energie CZ increasing the capital stock of TERMO Děčín a.s., long-term investment loan from HVB Bank Czech Republic and partly by grants from the State Environmental Fund and the Danish government subsidies. During the nearly 10 years of operation of Benešovská heating plant, the CO2 emissions have dropped by almost 190 thousand tonnes compared to the previous coal- and fuel oil-fired system. District heating customers of the Benešovská heating plant benefited from the grid modernization and new technologies brought about by the project in the form of building heat-transfer stations installed directly on their premises. These stations make it possible to regulate the heat supply to meet individual requirements of each customer.
The geothermal source project was awarded Project of the Year 2002 by the Association for District Heating and now the project has been acclaimed the Project of the Decade by expert journalists. The Project of the Decade prize is bestowed by the Association for District Heating. The 10 contestants included 2001-2010 projects which contributed most to the improvement of air quality in our cities and towns or promoted the use of renewable energy or fuel savings, stabilizing the price of heat for households and other customers as a result. Since 2002, the Association for District Heating of the Czech Republic has been organizing annual Project of the Year competitions for district heating and cooling systems, having presented 78 projects so far. 10 most successful projects were selected for the Project of the Decade contest. Heating plants have invested over 5 billion CZK in these projects covering systems with 150,000 households connected, representing a tenth of households supplied with heat from central sources in the country.