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Official: Government fulfilling green targets while boosting competitiveness

The government is fulfilling environmental targets while boosting competitiveness, an official of the ministry of technology and industry told Mediaworks in an interview, published in daily Magyar Nemzet on Monday.

State secretary Zsofia Koncz said that protecting the utility cut scheme and developing new green energy resources were among the most important tasks of the ministry.

In recent years, the government carried out large investment projects for energy diversification, she said. Whereas in 2010, Hungary only had two interconnectors with neighbouring countries, currently it is connected with six of the seven neighbouring countries, she added.

The economy continues to be mostly dependent on Russian gas, as are Germany and several other European countries due to geographical characteristics, the structure of the market and existing infrastructure, she said. Weaning the country from Russian gas would be a lengthy process taking several years but the achievements of recent years, such as the expanded infrastructure and new interconnectors now enable Hungary to import natural gas from several other resources, she added. “In physical terms, we are currently able to receive supplies from any direction, the only condition left is to sign the corresponding agreements,” she said.

Currenly, however, Russia delivers some 85 percent of the natural gas consumed in Hungary, and so it is crucial that Hungary receives the supplies. “Gas is vitally important not only to us but to the whole of Europe and a gas embargo would destroy the economy of the entire continent,” she added. “The war and sanctions by Brussels have already caused a huge amount of damage. The price of electricity grew five-fold and the price of gas six-fold in Europe and there is no end in sight. Without maintaining the utility price caps, this would also burden the Hungarian population,” she said.

Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks, which provides most of the country’s energy needs, will be “indispensable” in future, Koncz said. The importance of cheap nuclear energy has finally been recognized by the EU, she added, noting that according to the EU’s taxonomy regulation nuclear energy and natural gas can be qualified as clean energy resources.

Asked about the future use of renewable energy sources, Koncz said that Hungary would mainly aim to increase its capacity in solar energy. “It currently seems feasible that a planned six-fold increase in the volume of solar energy production by 2030 could be already achieved in 2025,” she said, noting that the country’s solar energy capacities had been increased tenfold in the past five years.

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