Hungarian parliament passes bill banning new wind projects

By bne IntelliNews December 12, 2016

The Hungarian parliament passed a law on December 12 that bans wind turbines within a 12-kilometer radius of populated areas. The legislation will leave no area in Hungary where it will be possible to install new wind energy capacity.

The Hungarian parliament originally passed the controversial amendment in October. President Janos Ader, however, sent it back to the parliament for review, arguing that it would not help the execution of the Paris climate accord.

Nevertheless, the parliament passed the bill the second time without any substantial modification. Janos Lazar, leader of the prime minister’s office, earlier claimed the amendment is needed because the efficiency of wind turbines is overly dependent on weather changes. The government has been criticized by environmentalists for curbing the development of wind power.

The move goes against the government’s 2010-2020 renewable energy action plan. In 2014, 8.4% of gross inland energy consumption in Hungary came from renewable sources, representing the lowest share of renewables among the Visegrad countries. The government targets an increase in the proportion of energy produced by renewables to 13% by 2020.

While environmental issues have never been particularly high on the government’s agenda, President Janos Ader has often demonstrated his progressive stance on tackling global warming. At the same time, it seems likely that Prime Minister Viktor Orban is turning his back on long-time ally Ader due to the president's recent efforts to increase his autonomy, including his refusal to sign a bill that sought to keep parts of the central bank’s spending behind closed doors.

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