In the latest episode of the Blue Planet podcast released on Monday, János Áder, the former President, engaged in a conversation with Gábor Czepek , the Administrative State Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, focusing on the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), specifically sustainable energy sources and nuclear energy.
During the discussion held at the Planet Budapest 2023 Sustainability Expo, Czepek emphasized that the NECP is built on the conceptual foundation that a sovereign energy policy is key to climate success. Therefore, it aims at achieving sovereignty, including a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Highlighting the primary goal of the Ministry of Energy, Czepek expressed the intention to produce
at least 50 per cent of electricity sustainably, via nuclear energy and renewable sources, by the early 2030s.
Czepek expressed confidence that with this 2030 target, coupled with domestic natural gas and other renewable energy sources, besides solar energy, Hungary will achieve energy sovereignty for the majority of the year. To achieve the set targets, NECP has outlined five main areas: the first and second levels of sustainable energy sources, including nuclear and solar energy, respectively; electrification of transportation; achieving energy efficiency in public buildings, businesses, and households; and afforestation.
The State Secretary also touched upon Brussels energy and climate policy in the past one and a half years. He emphasized the need for more financial resources, citing the EU’s response through the allocation of 150 billion euros from the so-called recovery fund for energy transition and development projects. Discussing the spike in electricity and gas prices at the end of 2021, Czepek highlighted the subsequent outflow of 200 billion euros from EU member states in 2022, suggesting that with better policies, at least half of this amount could have been saved.
Áder underscored the apparent contradictions in expecting Hungary to reduce reliance on Russian oil while not receiving any financial support for this endeavour. He pointed to companies like MOL, facing significant costs for technological transition without any financial assistance from the EU. The discussion delved into government plans, with a specific focus on wind energy. Czepek stated that
wind power would be part of the future energy mix, with an increase in Hungary’s wind capacity from 300 megawatts to 1000 megawatts by 2030.
Moreover, Áder highlighted the role of the Mátra Power Plant, providing 10 per cent of the country’s energy needs but responsible for over 10 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. Czepek detailed the vast lignite reserves in Hungary, particularly in Bükkábrány and Visonta, explaining why the decision has been made to operate the Mátra Power Plant until alternative plants are operational.
Regarding Paks 1, Czepek mentioned that based on preliminary technical examinations, it is realistic to extend the Paks Nuclear Power Plant’s lifecycle by 20 years, reaching a 70-year operational period between 2032 and 2037.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/Blue Planet/MTI