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Energy Efficiency Obligation scheme to accelerate development of energy efficiency market, says Hungarian regulating body

Exchange trading of Certified Energy Savings under the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme (EEO) will accelerate the development of the energy efficiency market, confirmed Edit Juhász, President of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH), during a conference titled “Interprofessional experience of Certified Energy Savings (CERs) and their markets, potential new commercial opportunities” which took place on 23 April 2024 in Budapest.

The EEO’s objective is to ensure that the obligated parties implement practical measures, improvements and investments in proportion to their energy sales, which result in verified energy savings for end-users. MEKH has been operating the EEO since 1 January 2021.

The Hungarian regulating body sets the energy savings due in a given year in a decision and is also responsible for monitoring the fulfilment of the obligations and maintaining a database of reported savings. Under this legislation, EEO operators had a “period of grace” until 31 March 2024 to submit the Certified Energy Savings to MEKH.

President Juhász emphasised that increasing Hungarian energy efficiency is crucial to the competitiveness of the economy. The purpose of the EEO is to encourage investment in energy efficiency and she underlined that the scheme has worked in practice: over the past years, the EEO has facilitated the implementation of more than 4,600 energy-saving projects. In 2023, 99.34 per cent of the stakeholders have fulfilled their obligations by accounting for Certified Energy Savings and last year the accounted energy savings already exceeded 1,500 terajoules (TJ)/year, added Ms Juhász.

As Daniella Deli, Deputy State Secretary for Climate Policy of the Ministry of Energy underlined in her presentation, the European Union (EU) sets increasingly ambitious energy efficiency targets and Hungarian regulations must adapt accordingly. She also pointed out that the increasingly stricter targets require a review of EEO and alternative energy efficiency policies and the introduction of new measures.

Such measures include the Hungarian Government’s new Home Renovation Programme (HRP), to be launched in early June, which aims to improve the energy efficiency of Hungarian family houses in the amount of 108 billion Hungarian forints (285 million euros).

In September 2023, the EU published its New Energy Efficiency Directive with the ambitious target of reducing final energy consumption by at least 11.7 per cent compared to projections of the expected energy use for 2030. Ambitious energy efficiency targets are key to driving Europe’s energy transition.

By using energy more efficiently and thereby consuming less, Europeans can lower their energy bills, help protect the environment, mitigate climate change, improve their quality of life, reduce the EU’s reliance on external suppliers of oil and gas and support the sustainable growth of the EU economy. To unlock these benefits, energy efficiency needs to be improved across the entire energy supply chain, from production to final consumption.

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