Hungary, the energy super state!

Article published on March 4, 2009
Article published on March 4, 2009
The Russian-Ukrainian gas disputes are making Europe feel – not just in the recent months but in the last few years - the rules of this game, and the fact who makes these rules. Although our dependence is hardly mentioned, it is quite obvious that this is a constantly strengthening relationship.

These demonstrations of strength give a good opportunity for the conservationists to make themselves heard louder. In these periods they alert us through many channels that our addiction of import is unreliable and we have other alternatives. However, in the end usually everything goes back to its normal place and everything goes on smoothly.

In these days the alternative sources of energy – that could decrease our one-sided dependence and of course environmental pollution – are more often topics of everyday conservations. We could have numerous opportunities if… If we weren’t so used to oil, comfort and abundance, and if lobby-forces focused on alternative energy-sources, and if someone in the proper position took the responsibility to think, decide and act in the long run.

Hungary has extremely good natural endowment in the geothermic energy point of view. In the Carpathian Basin the Earth’s crust is only 23-26 kilometers wide, which is 7-8 kilometers thinner than the average. In the crust the fairly isolated porous sedimentary rock prevents the fast egressation. With the geothermic energy gas could be completely replaced in a settlement if it is available and it is continuous. Using this type of energy has no negative emission and it is completely free after setting up the system and with circulating back the thermal water into the ground the overuse and the waste of the reserves can be prevented.

Why don’t they developing Hungary’s geothermic energy capacity? Why is that it is only 0,3 percent of the country’s energy balance. Well, mainly because the actual relevant laws are full with loopholes and with antinomies. And also the administration does not help either, to get all the permissions twelve authority’s paper is needed. This indicates that the enterprising spirit bumps into the divided public authorities and into the licensing labyrinth and on the way high negatively discriminated taxation keeps back innovators. For example taxation is possible in the following titles: water-resource management contribution, mine contribution, sewerage fine, other administrative service and supervision fees. Moreover it is possible that further fees must be paid because of the post usage of the thermal water.

Despite this negative environment there are brave initiatives who are tackling the procedure to use geothermic energy. In Hódmezővásárhely 2800 households and industrial facilities equivalent with 300 households are connected to the geothermic district-heating system. In Kistelek nine local public institutions is using it for heating and to generate hot water and Iklódbördőce can be the first town in Hungary where geothermic power plant will be build. There is another reason to invest: in market circumstances a project would return in 4-6 years, but with EU co-financed sources this time can be reduced. So just another step is needed from the government to create a coherent law and until the creation of that law the most important orders sould be supervised to put Hungary on the top of the geothermic energy world.

Translated by Tamás Kéry.