Kyiv seminar - Experience of Hungary in energy efficiency

On December 10, 2015 the third seminar on Hungary’s energy efficiency experiences took place as part of the “Capacity Building for energy sector reform in Ukraine” project implemented by the Slovak Foreign Policy Association and the Centre for Global Studies: Strategy XXI (Ukraine) and funded by SlovakAid and the International Visegrad Fund.

As is the tradition the seminar was officially opened by Mykhailo Gonchar, president of the Centre for Global Studies: Strategy XXI, who then introduced Hungarian expert Zsuzsanna Pató, senior researcher at the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (Budapest).

Zsuzsana Pató’s well-structured presentation covered the following topics:

  1. EU and Hungarian energy efficiency policy and horizontal legislation;
  2. financial support for energy efficiency;
  3. Hungarian experiences of building an “energy efficient society and businesses”: enforcement instruments;
  4. energy efficiency investments: case study – modernization of the Kaposvár district heating system
  5. information campaigns on energy efficiency – the role of central and local authorities.

Zsuzsanna Pató gained valuable experience in research and policy assessment while working for Hungarian and international organizations, including UNEP, UNDP and FAO, and her presentation concerned the drafting of national energy efficiency legislation in conjunction with harmonization of the EU energy acquis and the challenges of doing so in a small country.

When discussing financial support opportunities, she stressed the importance of having experienced project managers and comprehensive government policies. She also mentioned that Hungary had failed to utilize a substantial part of the EU cohesion funds in recent years, limiting the effect of these EU support instruments.

She stressed the need for the state to implement a comprehensive program to create the conditions for introducing energy efficiency measures. The program should include administrative regulations and limits, economic incentives in the form of taxes, certificates, information labelling and awareness raising as well as voluntary agreements and organizations.

She made reference to Kaposvár, one of the most interesting and successful projects, in which a comprehensive approach was adopted and a sustainable action plan is being implemented to ensure a completely renewable energy supply by 2050.

The audience also learned about specific details of information campaigns and elements of government policies that negatively impacted on general attitudes to energy efficiency, particularly, populist measures to reduce energy prices.

Representatives from ministries and government agencies and discussed specific aspects of national and local legislation with Zsuzsanna Pató, exchanged views on best practices and debated external and internal reasons for success or failure.

After the event, the expert team and the delegates continued to have productive discussions on the Hungarian and Ukrainian energy markets and future challenges regarding energy consumption.