Relaxing of Rules To Boost Wind Power in Hungary

  • 8 Jan 2024 3:05 PM
  • Hungary Matters
Relaxing of Rules To Boost Wind Power in Hungary
The government is relaxing rules with a view to boosting wind power generation, the energy ministry said on Friday. The new rules reduce the protective radius around wind farms to 700 meters in line with European norms and it will be easier to obtain a permit from Jan 1, the ministry said in a statement.

Also, the restriction on total power output will no longer apply.

Nevertheless, strong guarantees will obtain in respect of protecting localities, the environment, farmland and landscapes. The related decree published in the official Hungarian Gazette proscribes wind turbines and the border of their parks from being set up in an area intended for construction or within 700 meters of a protection zone.

Exceptions can be made when it comes to industrial investments which are designated as of special importance in terms of the national economy.

Turbines must not be set up on farmland with great production potential or where the landscape is under national or World Heritage protection. In areas where wind energy at a height of 150 meters exceeds 500 watts per square metre, authorisation may be expedited, while environmental protection and construction authorisation deadlines are to be set at a maximum of 50 days.

The statement says that the future of the Hungarian economy lies in green energy, and wind power can complement the country’s rapidly growing solar output.

The goal is to triple the current wind energy capacity of around 330 megawatts by 2030, it added.

The government also wants to boost storage: a fund totalling 137 billion forints will be open for tender in mid-January for families and businesses building new energy storage capacities, the statement said.

Agriculture Minister: Environment Protection Investments at Record High In 2023

Environment protection investments in 2023 reached a 13-year high, István Nagy, the agriculture minister, said in a statement.

Hungary’s 10 national parks have implemented developments worth a total of 90 billion forints (EUR 235.2m), improving the condition of over 300,000 hectares of natural habitat, a ministry statement cited Nagy as saying.

While over one-third of Hungary’s territory has been preserved in its “near-natural state”, those areas are fragmented and need constant intervention, Nagy said.

Their maintenance is the responsibility of the country’s ten national parks, aided by government operative programmes such as the KEHOP scheme, Nagy said. He said the operative programmes mostly focused on recultivating land and wetlands.

Such schemes also contributed to developing infrastructure and tourism: half of the 700 eco-tourism centres in Hungary are in the hands of the national parks, he said.

Visitor numbers have doubled in the past 13 years, to over 1.6 million people, he added. In December 2022, the European Commission approved the KEHOP Plus programme, allocating 42 billion forints to upgrade 100,000 hectares of natural habitats, he said.

97% Of Companies See Need for Sustainable Energy But Fall Short

Most Hungarian companies see an increasing need for sustainable, renewable and alternative energy sources amid the current challenging economic environment, though often intentions and actions were generally grossly mismatched, according to a survey by K&H Bank.

Fully 97% either unambiguously expressed support for sustainable energy or did so with some qualifications, according to the results of the survey released.

Levente Suba, the bank’s head of sustainability, said that whereas companies were more and more committed to environmental sustainability on paper, in practice they were woefully falling behind, noting that a mere half a percent purchased green energy, even though this would be the best way to cut their carbon footprint.

Use of renewable energy sources actually fell among the surveyed companies, as did various activities aimed at protecting the environment, with dwindling interest in energy saving, thermal insulation, and the development of environmentally conscious products.

The only real positive for the environment was that companies consumed less and less paper, he said.

Meanwhile, more and more companies see sustainability as a difficulty rather than an opportunity in the current economic environment, Suba said.

Raising financing was the biggest hurdle to making the transition to sustainable operations, he added. K&H carried out its phone survey of 360 medium-sized and large companies between Oct 9 and 31.

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