The Czech government must decide soon whether to provide aid to keep the country's lignite coal-fired plants running, said Pavel Tykac, the Czech billionaire owner of

Sev.en, a major investor in the industry. Despite coal's phase-out in the European Union, coal plants are still essential for the national grid, especially during winter when demand is high and renewable resources may not produce much.

The Czech government plans to shut down coal plants by 2033, but Tykac said this would happen much sooner unless the government intervened. State aid may be possible through long-term purchase contracts to ensure the necessary plants will operate until they are no longer needed. Photo by Pechristener, Wikimedia commons.