The Hungarian Virtual Power Station Program has been selected as one of the best three among 153 energy efficiency programmes submitted to the jury of the EU’s Sustainable Energy Week, the Hungaian Ministry for National Economy has announced.
As Minister of State for Economic Regulation Béla Glattfelder said, this is a prestigious international recognition of not only the programme but the country, too. He pointed out that the programme, launched in 2011, has provided advice and technical expertise for mainly small- and medium-sized enterprises on operating in a more environmentally responsible and competitive manner.
Such initiatives, he added, are considered to be of primary importance by the Government and the Ministry alike. EU member states are required to implement fixed energy consumption cuts by 2020 through energy efficiency programmes. It is a hard task given the fact that Hungary aims to increase the industrial output-to-GDP ratio from the current 22-23% to 30% by 2020 while fossil energy consumption must not be increased significantly, he said.
In order to achieve this, energy efficiency must be massively improved within the industrial and services sectors. One possibility is that Hungarian enterprises implement energy efficiency investment projects through the help of EU and domestic funds. Some specific EU resources, he stressed, will be allocated for this purpose.
On the other hand, he continued, the final objective cannot be achieved through financial support only; some other incentives – such as tax breaks – are currently under consideration. Under the EDIOP, a mentoring programme will provide advice for enterprises on optimizing energy consumption and renewable energies.
In addition to these, methods to improve the efficiency of district heating systems are being examined at the relevant ministry and the Government expects that the Ányos Jedlik Plan, a comprehensive electro-mobility blueprint, will save energy and improve energy efficiency on public roads.
Hungarian Innovation and Efficiency Non-profit Ltd CEO Balázs Fürjes, operator of the Virtual Power Station Programme, said that among the “new” EU member states the proportion of EU funding for Hungarian enterprises is much lower than what the size, population and economic output of the country would warrant.
In his opinion, one key reason for this is the lack of trust and because of that Hungarian enterprises must perform twice as well as others. The other factor is that in case of an innovative idea it must be proven that it will be adaptable by other countries and it can be operated in a sustainable manner.
The jury liked the Hungarian program exactly because of that: it is method that other countries can learn from. Following the presentation of the award, large enterprises and international energy agencies requested cooperation options, he said. Until now, 2000 enterprises have joined the programme. Energy savings total 6 megawatts, which is expected to increase to 25 megawatts by the end of the year and to 200 megawatts until 2020.
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