January 16, 2022 [Hungary Today] – Minister of Energy Csaba Lantos called the strengthening of energy sovereignty a priority task in a program on Radio Kossuth, where he also said that the mild winter had resulted in low gas consumption, which is why the levels of gas storage facilities in Europe and Hungary are very high.
Csaba Lantos said that although Russian gas is still arriving in Europe, it cannot be ruled out that the war will last for a long time, nor that gas prices will rise. Asked about Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission’s prediction in December, when she said that there could be a shortage of up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas on the market, the minister said that there are about 25 major LNG terminals under construction in the EU, which could ease the energy crisis and replace natural gas from Russia.
He added that:
“When the terminals are completed, it will be possible to say that Europe is truly independent from Russian gas. Construction of the terminals has started, but 2023-2024 will be a tough year for Europe.”
The minister pointed out that Hungary’s situation is a little different, as it has a relatively large number of gas storage facilities. As long as the Serbian pipeline is in operation, these storage facilities will be filled, he noted. He also spoke of strengthening Hungary’s energy sovereignty, saying that “we are very dependent on foreign countries for energy, and we need to decrease this dependence.”
As an example, he said that:
“In 2021, Hungary consumed around 10 billion cubic meters of natural, while 1.5 billion cubic meters could be extracted from Hungarian soil.”
The government’s ambition is to reach two billion cubic meters per year. In addition, they will continue to exploit weather-dependent renewable energy sources, such as solar energy and, as a complement, wind energy.
Lantos added that financial resources will be available to achieve these goals. He pointed out that the Hungarian recovery plan was considered one of the best by the European Union, so they hope that “this EU money will come in.” If for some reason it does not, then other sources will have to be found to implement the program to strengthen energy sovereignty.
“Meanwhile, despite the energy crisis, Hungarian households’ energy bills are still among the lowest in Europe.”
According to the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority, Hungarian households paid the second cheapest price (9.02 euro cents per kilowatt-hour) for electricity in the last month of the year for average consumption in the protected price category (2,523 kilowatt-hours per year) among European capitals. Households consuming 20 percent more than the average annual consumption were able to access electricity at 10.40 euro cents, also the second cheapest price in Europe, they said.
Regarding natural gas, it was the cheapest in Hungary in December at a reduced price of 2.48 euro cents per kilowatt hour (up to 63,645 megajoules per year). Hungarian households had access to gas at 5.04 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, the second cheapest price in Europe when consumption was 20 percent above the capped amount.
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