Forests cover around 33 percent of the total land area of the Czech Republic.
The country has reserves of coal amounting almost 90 percent of the total primary energy production. In 1996, 55 percent of the total primary energy consumption was covered by coal while 700,000 tonnes of dry biomass (i.e. firewood, forest residues, and agricultural residues) were utilised in heat production.
The present commercially available potential of biomass in the Republic is estimated to be 6.5Mt of dry biomass (odt) per year. Wheat straw residues amount to more than 3Mt (odt) and forest residues more than 2Mt. Only 14 percent (0.9Mt odt) of the whole potential is utilised. From a project carried out in 1997 by the Czech Republic in co-operation with the UK, reports that the total realisable annual biomass potential is estimated to be 70Mt odt. So, according to this estimate only around 1% of the potential is really utilised at the moment.
At present biomass utilised in small local stoves and boilers (with various thermal outputs) are mainly small wood logs, wood chips and wood or straw briquettes. The main barrier for increasing the use of biomass for energy purposes in most municipalities, schools, and hospitals is the lack of capital for investments.
A State support programme will allow a wider scale of investments.