Holešinský from UCED on Energy 4.0 for Forbes

June 11, 2021

The energy sector, and especially the European one, is facing radical changes in the near future. Germany, for example, has decided to slow down nuclear energy, and the changes are also intensively affecting the Czech Republic, and not only in the case of coal. These are not distant dates - the end of coal should come already around 2030, while large natural gas-fired power sources should cease operation by 2050.

"The planned slowdown in fossil fuels means that between 2030 and 2050, an alternative to natural gas will need to be found. Currently, coal is being phased out and the gasification of the heating sector is underway, but it is already clear that this is only an intermediate step towards something else," explains Richard Holešinský, Investment Director of the UCED energy group, aptly noting: "You could compare it to the automotive industry, where electric cars are probably just an intermediate step on the road from petrol and diesel to hydrogen."

According to him and other market experts, the future of the energy sector is heading irreversibly towards decentralisation as well as greening. The decline of large sources using fossil fuels combined with advances in modern technology will result in the formation of many smaller, alternative sources. It is already happening, and it is not just private household power plants that have already jumped on the trend of generating electricity from the sun years ago.

On the one hand, these changes bring a better environment, on the other hand they impose increased demands on the management of the electricity system. The stability of the system and its resilience to outages have been very much ensured by conventional large coal-fired sources. The gradual shutdown of these sources will require an increase in the capacity of providers of so-called support services, primarily for the transmission system and secondarily for other energy market participants.

Appliances can also be involved in the control of the electricity system - charging stations for electric vehicles, electric boilers, mills, pumps, as well as air-conditioning and ventilation systems.

And this is the direction in which the UCED energy group, which is part of the Creditas investment group, is oriented. Recently, the group has also been focusing strongly on Energy 4.0 lined with new technologies. These will enable efficient management of all future sources on the one hand and provide smart energy consumption on the other.

Czech companies are interested in this trend. Smart energy solutions are already used in large industrial areas, such as Metso in Přerov, Vítkovice in Ostrava or Sigma in Hranice.

"This year, we will also finish the complete revitalization of the distribution infrastructure in Kopřivnice, not only in the original industrial park in the Tatra complex, but also in the new area that is being developed by the town of Kopřivnice," adds the UCED financial director. Previously rather dirty, and especially energy-intensive and inefficient brownfields in the Czech Republic will thus be turned green.

For the further development of the UCED group, a fund of qualified investors was established this year in the Creditas investment group, in which only a qualified investor can become a shareholder according to the law. While standard funds first collect money and then decide what to buy with it, here the opposite has been done. Assets in the form of shares in six companies with a net value of CZK 1.5 billion were inserted into the Creditas Energy sub-fund, so the investment shares are based on the fund's capital.

In terms of numbers, there are 120 distribution systems across the Czech Republic with more than six thousand supply points from among large energy consumers (mostly industrial enterprises), into which one terawatt hour of electricity and gas flows annually. These parameters make the Creditas Energy sub-fund one of the largest electricity distributors in the country. The sub-fund is thus an interesting opportunity for the qualified investors.
In the future, UCED plans further acquisitions and the construction of decentralised solutions to bring efficient and clean energy production as close to the customer as possible.

This text was published on Forbes.cz