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Minister: Hungary takes major step towards green energy

The future of the Hungarian economy and environmental protection lies in green energy, and the country has taken a major step towards meeting the goals related to it with broad international cooperation, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Budapest on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the management committee of the so-called green energy corridor, Peter Szijjarto said Hungary, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria had signed a declaration of intent on cooperation on green energy which would see them coordinate their green strategies, developments and innovation via a shared platform.

The electricity companies of the five countries will set up a joint venture to manage the project’s technical and technological implementation, he told a joint press conference with the energy ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania and the deputy energy minister of Bulgaria, according to a ministry statement. Also, a tender will be called for a joint feasibility study, with the winning bidder to be decided early next month, he said.

The participating countries will also take joint steps to ensure that the financial resources for the project are in place, Szijjarto said, noting that the European Commission was also present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Amid the crises of recent years, Hungary has maintained its economic growth thanks to record investments, but the startups of new plants will also increase energy consumption, Szijjarto said.

Hungary aims to continue expanding its economy while reducing its harmful emissions, he said. Meeting this goal requires green energy, he said, adding that in the coming years electricity would become even more important in Hungary for transport, industry as well as heating and cooling technologies.

Electricity consumption in Hungary is set to rise by 50 percent by 2030, and the country plans to produce this electricity carbon-free, which is why it is expanding its nuclear and solar energy capacities, the minister said.

At the same time, Szijjarto said, it was important that the electricity Hungary imports also be carbon neutral, adding that the green energy corridor was key to this. “We’ve allied with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria to import large volumes of green energy to Europe,” he said.

Azerbaijan and Georgia are undertaking huge investments in hydro and wind power, and central Europe has started developing its own infrastructure so that it can handle as much green energy imported from the South Caucasus as possible for consumption and being transported further west, Szijjarto said.

This project, he said, required linking Georgia and Romania with what would be the world’s longest, 1,100km submarine cable. If all goes to plan, energy deliveries along this route can begin by the beginning of the next decade, he added.

In response to a question, Szijjarto said the project demonstrated that energy imports were a question of “physical reality rather than a political issue or a matter of dreams or desires”.

As regards the project’s financing by the European Union, Szijjarto said the matter was a European one and the infrastructure upgrades would require support.

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