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Economy & Policy

Hungary ready to meet its 2050 environmental commitments

Hungary has earned 13th place in the “Net Zero Readiness Index" compiled by KPMG.

MTI reported that Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics informed the participants of the Central European Energy Conference in Bratislava that Hungary is ready to meet its environmental commitments by 2050. Hungary is making major development investments toward more efficient energy production and in its use and share of renewable sources, he said. 

The minister noted that wind power is not very available in the country, but the number of sunshine hours is relatively high. Therefore, Hungary plans to build a significant part of its alternative energy production capacity with solar energy. 

In 2021, Hungary already has 2.6 GW of generation capacity and another 500 MW of capacity is under construction. The target is to build 6 GW of generation capacity by 2030.

Development will take place in two ways: on an industrial scale, with large investors above 50 MW, and on a household scale, with non-reimbursable subsidies to the population, mainly in areas where energy supply has been problematic.

Hungary was the first country in the region to set a target of energy neutrality for households by 2050, Palkovics said. 

The minister said that nuclear and solar energy will play the most important roles in improving the efficiency of Hungary’s electricity supply, but hydrogen, synthetic sources, carbon capture technologies and the recycling of by-products and raw materials will also be important.

Palkovics also mentioned the government’s national hydrogen strategy, adding that Hungary has no high-altitude reservoir for storing electricity, so hydrogen will play an important role in the storage of electricity from nuclear power plants and solar power plants. Another potential use of hydrogen is as a fuel, mainly in heavy industries such as steel or fertilizer production, but also in transport.

Hungary has some major developments in the battery technology sector underway as well. The minister stressed that car manufacturers in Hungary will partially or completely switch to electromobility. “In 10 years, we will not be able to do without batteries in any area of our lives,” Palkovics said. This will require building an entire battery ecosystem within the economy. If all goes well, within two years, Hungary will be the second-largest battery-producing country in Europe after Germany with a production capacity of around 300 GW.

Speaking at the Bratislava conference on greening the country’s transport system, the minister said that zero-emission buses will be in service in cities with a population of more than 25,000 from 2022. 

Electric cars will receive substantial subsidies of up to EUR 7,000. The network of electric charging stations will also be extended and subsidies will be given for electric bicycles. Meanwhile, the development of synthetic fuels, which are becoming increasingly promising for European projects, has been underway in Hungary for four years, with the participation of a major car company, MOL and university research institutes.

One of the most important elements in the development of transport is to increase the role of rail transport, both for passengers and freight. This includes the development of the rail network, container terminals and rolling stock.

Palkovics also underlined the importance of using artificial intelligence to improve energy efficiency, for example, in predicting and controlling the load on the energy distribution system and in proposing the use of different transport modes.

The minister pointed out that Hungary ranks 13th in the “Net Zero Readiness Index” compiled by KPMG, and the country is among the top five countries in terms of regulatory environment. 

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