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“Hungary will not be climate neutral by 2050 without nuclear power”

2024-06-25 16:33:00

Government representatives of the Visegrad Four countries discussed the national green gas strategies, the ways toward sustainable biomass use and the issue of non-intermittent renewables at Corvinus University on June 20.
Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

The Budapest workshop of the V4 Energy Think Tank Platform (V4ETTP) addressed the V4 countries’ shared concerns and challenges connected to the Green Deal. After the European Parliamentary elections, the nomination of a new Commission and the upcoming Hungarian and Polish Council presidency, the dialogue on these questions is very timely.  “It’s time to explore the impact of policy work and take a look at the ongoing processes. Most importantly we have the decarbonization goal by 2050, but we also have to pay attention to the 2030 targets”, said László Szabó, director of REKK energy research center at Corvinus in his opening talk. “We are working together on energy topics in the four countries and it’s a nice cooperation because the involved think tanks are working together closely with the ministries. Our goal is a vivid cooperation which helps the energy transition and fosters innovation in the sector”, László Szabó added.  

Hot topics in energy transition 

The organization deals with energy policy issues which are highly relevant in the region. Therefore, the keynote speaker of the workshop was Viktor Horváth, Deputy State Secretary for Energy Transition at the Ministry of Energy Hungary.  He addressed energy related goals and topics of the upcoming Hungarian presidency. “The main question is how green investments and energy related developments can increase the competitiveness of the Continent”, he emphasized the priority of the upcoming period.  

The Hungarian Presidency will also put the use of geothermal energy on the European agenda. “It is rarely used in the region, but its potential is high. Together with the forthcoming Polish Presidency we would like to discuss this topic and put it into practice”. The third priority issue of the Hungarian Presidency he raised will be the further development of the electricity grid.  

Positions towards the Green Deal 

“I think that there are many elements of the Green Deal that will fall out until 2050”, claimed László Szabó. The participants explored these issues further in a high-level panel discussion with government representatives from three V4 countries. Krzysztof Bolesta, State Secretary in the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Poland expressed his concerns regarding the slowness of the transition. “The targets are difficult to reach in our region. We are always two steps behind those who can afford this transition”. He raised the issue of energy poverty but claimed that the renewable energy directives and energy efficiency directives won’t change in the long run, everybody has to go into this direction.  

Daniella Deli, Deputy State Secretary for Climate Policy of Ministry of Energy, Hungary, agreed. “We constantly experience the heatwaves and can immediately notice the effects of climate change. We have to act in order to preserve or at least not worsen the situation”. However, the implementation of the Green Deal is not working flawlessly in her point of view despite the goals being highly ambitious. “We see the drawbacks of wanting to solve everything in one single step, however it should really be a gradual transition and not a sudden shift from the existing system”.  

Lukáš Minařík, Head of Unit, Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic emphasized that the V4 region shares issues. Financing renewables and technological developments means a common problem while also having a close connection in electricity. Knowledge sharing, for example about heating technologies as the four countries have similar building stock and societal structures, would provide a way to meet EU targets.

 

Raising targets 

Currently, the ministries are working on the finalization of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP) based on the Commission’s recommendations. The question arises whether these countries will show higher ambitions compared to the draft versions and reconsider the renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. Based on the recommendations, the Czech Republic is considering raising the share of renewables from 30% to 33%. However, economic optimization aspects could still alter this plan.  

The situation is similar in Poland where the first draft included a rather conservative scenario but currently, they are working on more ambitious plan with the share of renewables around 30%. “In natural gas we see a diversification”, said the State Secretary. “Diversified energy sources mean security, so we are going into a diverse portfolio of technologies, and nuclear power will enter the mix too”.  

Hungary has an ambitious target regarding greenhouse gas reduction compared to the 1990 level. “We updated our NECP from 40% gross GHG reduction to 50% – we are now at 37%”, said Daniella Deli. The share of renewables is similar to the other two countries. “The renewable uptake is really fast in Hungary. We have good results, but we are assessing the feasibility of the 34% target set by the Commission which refers to the renewable energy share in the final energy consumption by 2030”.  The Deputy State Secretary claimed that without nuclear energy climate neutrality cannot be reached by 2050. 

The field of energy efficiency is usually underperforming targets in the region. “It is the most difficult element of the green transition: keeping a balance between the economic growth and saving”, said Krzysztof Bolesta. He claimed that policy making needs to tackle the residency sector and find ways to package individual housing investments into a product. To tackle these issues, the Hungarian government has introduced the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme in 2021 which obliges energy service companies to invest in energy efficiency. Additionally, a new home renovation program will launch in July which targets the houses built before 1990. “It is for families to renovate their home and thus, save energy”, said Daniella Deli. 

The conference continued in the afternoon with sessions which tackled the topics of biomass and green gas. REKK (HU) as the coordinator, along with SFPA (SK), the Instytut Jagielloński (PL) and AMO (CZ) as partners, have initiated in 2018 the launching of the V4 Energy Think Tank Platform (V4ETTP) as a permanent think tank cooperation platform focusing on energy. Since 2023 the Polish partner is the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW). 

About Corvinus University of Budapest 

Corvinus University of Budapest is Hungary’s leading university in the field of economics and social sciences. The medium-term goal of the Corvinus is to become the best higher education institution in these fields not only in Hungary, but also in Central Europe. The Corvinus University currently has almost 10,000 students, including 2000 foreign students. The institution has close links with 200 partner universities worldwide. Corvinus is regularly ranked high in international higher education rankings, with its Masters in Business and Management being ranked first in the region by Eduniversal in 2019 and year after year, its Masters in Leadership and Organisation being ranked among the top 100 business schools in the world by Financial Times. Corvinus University of Budapest is the only university in Hungary with two international institutional accreditation (AMBA, AACSB).  

 

Further information, interview requests:  

Vajda Boglárka  

senior PR expert 

+36 30 619 6633 | press@uni-corvinus.hu 

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GEN.:2024.07.15. - 02:13:40