Russia and China Aim for Hungary’s Power Market

Why Autocratic Powers Look for New Opportunities in the CE Energy Sector

10 December 2020

Zsuzsanna Szabó

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Budapest’s energy policy in the power sector has made a sharp transition in recent years, curiously holding ample business opportunities for two great powers from the East, namely Russia and China.

  • Renewables particularly solar – are gaining ground as nuclear generation remains dominant in Hungary’s energy mix by 2030 and onwards. 
  • Why has Russia got a grasp on nuclear power plant construction? 
  • How did China and Turkey find their way into the booming Hungarian solar business?

Hungary has been under pressure for a long time to decide on a clear plan for its electricity generation mix as the country has a fleet of ageing coal-fired, gas-fired capacity and a nuclear power plant, accounting for more than half of the country’s electricity production.

In a blog post two years ago, former state secretary for Paks Nuclear Power plant Attila Aszódi urged the government to address a potential capacity shortage which could strike in the 2030s.

Hungary is to phase out about one gigawatt (GW) coal-fired, 500 megawatts (MW) gas-fired capacity by 2030 and 2GW Paks nuclear power plant during the 2030s with the last reactor (out of four) shutting down in 2037, reveals the latest version – issued at the beginning of 2020 – of National Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (NECP).

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Zsuzsanna Szabó

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Zsuzsanna Szabó is covering investor relations, shareholder activism and ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) at a London-based finance magazine. Before joining the IR Magazine news team in January 2020, she worked as an energy market reporter for ICIS, an industry publication for one and a half years. During that time, she covered the CEE power markets. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Media studies at the University of Westminster in London, with a dissertation on the rise of populism in Hungarian politics. She previously covered German and Austrian political news and the refugee crisis for Origo.hu, Hungary’s formal leading news portal.

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