The Hungarian Government has developed an ambitious long-term plan worth over 18 billion euros in order to achieve energy independence, according to the State Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Gabor Czepe. He said that the first stage of self-sufficiency is diversification, with steps already taken regarding natural gas, to be followed by achieving real sovereignty in the field of electricity by the early 2030s.
Among other things, 1.5 billion euros has been earmarked for electricity network upgrades, 2 billion euros for green industrial parks, 1 billion euros for energy efficiency in businesses and residential energy efficiency, and 780 million euros for geothermal projects. The total sum of more than 18 billion euros does not include projects that are already in the decision-making phase, such as the expansion of a nuclear power plant in Paks.
In addition to national budget resources, other market investments and EU funds are needed to make the process of energy independence a success. He added that negotiations with the EU are continuing, and an agreement on the mobilization of funds is expected to be reached in the autumn. The economic consequences of the energy crisis have to be reckoned with. Hungary’s energy bill is expected to reach 17 billion euros this year, compared to 7 billion in the past.
Czepek pointed out that Hungary is particularly well-placed in terms of gas storage, with the sixth largest capacity in Europe, covering four months’ needs. It is now at 90% capacity and will soon reach 100%. The Hungarian electricity system is characterized by the fact that there have been no major blackouts, but the system was not designed for the renewable boom, so it needs to be improved.
He added that in the coming years, 1,500 to 1,700 MW of gas-fired, hydro and pump-storage hydropower plants will be built, regulations for the installation of wind power will be eased, and better support for biogas/biomass projects is also planned.