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Hungary’s grid modernisation takes a major leap in 2024, says State Secretary

2024 is a landmark year for Hungarian grid modernisation, stated the State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Energy pointing out that the Hungarian government is allocating 160 billion Hungarian forints (403 million euros) to support projects that include building new substations, expanding existing ones and developing transmission lines.

The announcement was made at a closing ceremony of the expansion of Hungarian transmission operator MAVIR’s Kerepesi substation. The 13 billion Hungarian forints (7,5 million euros) investment, which received 2.5 billion Hungarian forints (6,3 million euros) in EU funding (pre-financed by the government), significantly advances the security of supply for Budapest and Eastern Hungary, underlined Zsófia Koncz.

The state secretary added that the modernisation of Hungary’s electricity grid is driven by increasing residential and industrial demands and the rise and capacity expansion of weather-dependent renewable energy sources. She emphasised that the energy supply in Hungary is secure and the government’s main goal is to enhance energy sovereignty and security by increasing electrification.

She also highlighted Hungary’s achievements in solar energy, stating that in 2023, Hungary ranked third globally after Chile and Greece in terms of the highest proportion of solar energy in electricity production. She recalled that Hungary has already achieved its goal of having 6,000 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity by 2030 and the revised National Energy and Climate Plan now targets 12 gigawatts (GW).

“Hungary’s future lies in green energy,” she declared, adding that weather-dependent renewable energy sources pose significant challenges for transmission system operators. “Currently, there are 267,000 household-sized power plants in Hungary, three-quarters of which are on residential rooftops.”

The state secretary mentioned that the Hungarian government supports energy supply, security and independence through network development and specific investments. For example, they are constructing combined cycle gas power plants: two 500 MW plants in Tiszaújváros and a 650 MW plant in Visonta. She also noted that a feasibility study is underway for establishing at least one pumped storage power plant in Hungary.

Hungary also perceives energy storage as a key issue. In this context, there are currently 200 billion Hungarian forints (504 million euros) worth of grant schemes, including the “Solar Plus” program, which is the first to support the deployment of modern solar systems (solar panels and energy storage), underlined the state secretary.

As she stated, Hungary’s energy policy, energy security and the increase in electricity production rest on two main pillars: the further expansion of solar capacities and nuclear energy. The state secretary emphasised the importance of extending the operational life of the Paks 1 nuclear power plant and constructing Paks 2, which also serves climate policy goals. “Our clear goal is to guarantee Hungary’s energy security,” she concluded.

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