The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Environment has opened the next call for applications for aid under the Operational Program Environment (OPE) under Priority Axis 2 – Improving air quality and reducing emissions. The program aims to limit pollution from public transport through the use of alternative fuels. According to the government website, “Within the area of intervention, it is possible to support projects aimed at the purchase of public buses running on CNG and the construction of CNG filling stations.”
Environment Minister Tomáš Jan Podivínský announced the funding after completing negotiations in Brussels last week for a grant of CZK 1 billion (USD 50 million). The European Commission (EC) grant will assist the replacement of the oldest and most environmentally polluting public transportation buses with clean buses operating on compressed natural gas (CNG), providing a subsidy of up to 85%.
The grant, made available through the EC’s Cohesion Fund (see endnote), is sufficient to purchase around 10 CNG filling stations and about 154 new public transport CNG-powered buses, with the indicative price of 6.8 million crowns for each bus and 13 million for each filling station.
A study commissioned by the Ministry of Environment showed that based on this number of vehicles the following annual emissions savings are possible:
- 3.54 tons of particulate matter,
- 40.2 tons of nitrogen oxides,
- 8.5 tons of volatile organic compounds, and
- 0.008 tons of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
The grant is intended only for projects that will be implemented in the territory of the Moravian-Silesian Region, Ústí region and Brno agglomeration.
(Endnote: The EC Cohesion Fund is aimed at Member States whose Gross National Income (GNI) per inhabitant is less than 90 % of the EU average. It aims to reduce economic and social disparities and to promote sustainable development.)