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Hungary aims to Eliminate Reliance on Russian Gas by 2050

BUDAPEST, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Hungary, one of the European Union's most-reliant members on Russian energy, aims to eliminate Russian gas imports by 2050 by a large-scale electrification drive, Technology and Industry Minister Laszlo Palkovics said on Tuesday.

Under a 15-year deal signed last year, before the start of the war in neighbouring Ukraine, Hungary receives 4.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year via Bulgaria and Serbia under a long-term deal with Russia.

In July, nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government scrapped a years-long cap on utility prices for higher-usage households, which Palkovics said would likely contribute to a decline in retail gas consumption.

Palkovics said the government would review Hungary's energy strategy in the first quarter of 2023, looking to curb gas reliance and boost electricity production relying on nuclear and solar energy as well as a possible move towards wind farms.

"The level of Russian gas, other conditions being equal, can fall to zero by 2050," Palkovics told an energy conference organised by financial news website

Palkovics said households, which used 4 bcm of gas last year, would likely cut consumption by at least 800 million cubic metres after subsidies were curbed, with more savings coming from government measures to limit consumption.

As a first step, Hungary aims to reduce the share of gas in its total energy consumption to 26% by 2030 from 35% last year, a decline of about 2.4 bcm, Palkovics said.

He said the overhaul of the Hungarian energy system, including curbing gas consumption, boosting the share of renewable energy and storage capacities, would cost about 24 billion euros, 16 billion of which would come from EU funding.

Reporting by Gergely Szakacs, editing by Ed Osmond

Source: Reuters

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