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Hungary needs 51GW solar for carbon neutrality by 2050

Hungary needs 51GW solar for carbon neutrality by 2050

Hungary would need 65GW of 'clean' power generation capacity, including 51GW of solar, to satisfy its electricity needs and become climate neutral by 2050, the government estimates in its new long-term strategy on reducing emissions.
The strategy envisions that the country's total generation capacity would rise from less than 10GW in 2020 to around 18GW in 2040 before falling to less than 15GW in 2050 under its baseline scenario, which does not include new incentives or interventions. Under the "early action" scenario, capacity would total almost 20GW in 2030-40 and then climb to nearly 70GW by 2050, partially as a result of increased electrification in transport and households, the strategy says. Most of this would be nuclear and solar.

Budapest passed its target to become fully climate neutral — whereby greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are net zero — by 2050 into law last year. Its new strategy reiterates earlier government plans to mostly rely on nuclear and solar capacity to achieve this goal. The country aims to commission the 2.4GW Paks 2 nuclear complex by 2029-30 and also expects solar capacities to rise to over 6GW by 2030 from more than 2GW currently. Lignite-burn would be effectively phased out in 2025, while gas-fired generation would be significantly reduced from 2030 under both scenarios in the new strategy.

The rapid expansion of weather-dependent capacities would require significant power storage capacity, which is estimated to reach "several tens of GWs" in 2050 under the "early action" scenario, the document says. It also highlights the need to support bank financing for projects in the country's existing renewable scheme, strengthening other types of capital market financing, such as the securitisation of bank loans or issuing green bonds, and introduce more equity financing opportunities, such as renewable mutual funds.

Implementing the "early action" scenario to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050 would require total additional investment of 24,709bn forint ($84bn), according to the strategy. But the value of future economic expenses that climate neutrality would help avoid and its additional benefits — such as higher GDP and increased government revenues — would well exceed those investment costs by 2050, it adds.

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