Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/04/2012 -- BMI View: Hungary is faced with modest power demand growth, relatively high electricity pricing and some tough decisions over the timing and type of supply expansion programme it is to implement. It harbours long-term ambitions to export surplus power to Germany, but this requires an early decision on nuclear capacity investment. The life of existing reactors looks set to be extended, but new units are almost certain to be added. A concerted effort is also underway to enlarge the country's renewables capability, but progress is slow relative to the country's European peers.
While renewables are also a core part of power supply growth, Hungary accepts that the expansion of wind and solar alone will not be enough to meet rising demand, with nuclear the only realistic low-carbon option available to state generator MVM. It has been estimated by the government that 9 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity will need to be added by 2025, and that nuclear will account for the single biggest addition.
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Key trends and recent developments in the Hungarian electricity market include:
- The likely average annual growth rate for Hungarian power consumption is just 1.14% between 2012 and 2021. This reflects the relative maturity of the energy market. Growth in power generation over the next ten years could exceed 1.5% per annum, allowing for a gradual reduction in import dependency. Continuing expansion of supply above the rate of demand growth could ultimately deliver the country's desired export potential.
- The time taken to connect wind farms to the grid, and the high costs of doing so, are the main barriers to wind energy development in Hungary according the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Hungarian Wind Energy Association (HuWEA). EWEA and HuWEA would like to see at least 1.2GW installed by 2020, which would provide about 5% of Hungary's electricity demand.
- According to BMI forecasts, non-hydro renewables generation should reach almost 5.9TWh by 2021. Within this total, wind power is put at 1.1TWh by the end of the forecast period. These figures fall short of government targets, but a revision of policy would clearly accelerate growth in renewables use.
- Power prices are relatively high when compared with those available in the country's European peers. November 2011 data, for example, show that household customers were paying around 16% more than equivalent users in the Czech Republic. Hungarian prices are significantly below those of Germany, providing support for long-term export plans.
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