As in Hungary more than 40% of the energy used in households (152 PJ) could be spared with improving energy efficiency, Friends of the Earth Hungary facilitates community energy development that combines energy savings with renewable energy investments.
Investments in Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in Hungary are challenged by the quickly drying out national financing schemes (Operational Program Grants, loans) which anyway need a significant capital and are not accessible to the people in energy poverty. The bureaucracy of the permit processes, and very limited national RES appliances production, services and expertise also create a hurdle for the development of RES in Hungary. Biomass projects, especially the large scale projects such as burning biomass in low efficiency plants are favoured. The installable wind capacities are strictly regulated because the grid is not smart enough yet to tolerate significant fluctuations. Solar installations started to increase very slowly, but the potential is still not exploited.
Community energy initiatives can win these challenges. It is important for Hungarian people that cooperatives and other organized communities can mobilize their members' expertise, resources and apply for funding, permits more effectively. In addition, people appreciate energy sovereignty.
Revised energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation and financing schemes will be discussed in 2014. In the CO-POWER project, Friends of the Earth Hungary is active in ensuring that the national policies, legislation and financial schemes help the community energy initiatives, by making proposals and thorough advocacy towards national decision makers.
The good news is that there are already several dozen of Hungarian community energy projects in RES and in energy efficiency. These are mainly pilot projects and due to the limited capital, they are funded by various EU grants. With the CO-POWER project, public campaigns will be organized in 5 Hungarian regions to facilitate the birth of much more community energy initiatives and projects.
Friends of the Earth Hungary
Phone: +36 1 216 7297