National Energy and Climate Plan, National Energy Strategy 2030.
The Hungarian Institute of Energy Efficiency welcomes, considers important and timely the situation assessment and the principles of the National Energy Strategy 2030 and the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKT) related to energy efficiency and building energy, especially the consumer-centric approach and the emergence of the “energy efficiency first” principle. However, these principles are not always reflected in the details of the strategy documents. The level of ambition of the targets does not come close to what is realistically possible: the energy efficiency target falls short of both a fair and proportionate contribution to EU targets and the ambition that Hungary would be expected to make in addressing the climate crisis and the energy transition.
Although mentioned, the principle of “energy efficiency first”, whereby we strive to minimise energy consumption and meet the remaining energy demand from sustainable energy sources, is no longer a guiding principle in practice. The objectives and actions envisaged do not recognise the strategic importance and potential of reducing energy consumption, in terms of the priorities outlined in the documents, even though they could provide a first response to each of the objectives set out in the strategies: energy sovereignty, energy security, reducing fossil fuel consumption, decarbonisation. This would be coupled with co-benefits that would bring concrete benefits – national economic, labour market, health, environmental – to the country and the individual.
Among the measures envisaged, there are a number that would fill a gap in the field of domestic energy management and energy efficiency development. We are confident that efforts will be made to strengthen the National Energy Efficiency Network, to extend tax incentives for business energy efficiency, to exploit the energy-saving potential of public buildings and to promote energy efficiency through awareness-raising campaigns. The introduction of a mandatory scheme and the advance of ESCO-type financing could also be a very important efficiency driver.
However, the above elements of measures are not always sufficient; in particular, action plans for complex deep renovation of buildings to improve energy efficiency are missing. In particular, the obligation scheme and ESCO financing are not well suited to promote complex investments with high savings, as market-based solutions that oblige energy suppliers and/or distributors will focus on low hanging fruits, i.e. investments with lower financial investment, faster payback and lower risk. Without a stable, long-term, predictable residential building energy incentive and support programme, deep renovation of residential buildings will not happen, which is essential to achieve the large-scale 30% reduction in energy consumption planned for the sector. However, reducing consumption in the residential sector is critical to achieving the overall energy efficiency target, as the other two major consumers – industry and transport – are expected to see significant increases in energy use in their strategy documents.