In 2011, Hungary issued a National Energy Strategy until 2030. It included several targets for district heating, such as the connection of public institutions to district heating and an increasing share of renewable and waste energy in heat production. The strategy forecasts the decrease of the share of district heat consumption within the residential and tertiary sector from 12% to 10% until 2020, due to renovation and insulation of buildings.
Natural gas remains the main fuel used in the energy sector in Hungary. It plays a very important role in electricity production, particularly in cogeneration,as well as in district heating as 78% of district heating is produced by natural gas. The majority of residential areas are connected to the natural gas network. Out of 4.3 million dwellings, 3.3 million are connected to the natural gas supply and 2.7 million (63%) are heated by natural gas through central or individual heating. As seen in the graph below, the share of district heating in the residential sector is 12%.
Before 2010, district heating related natural gas was used up to 60% in cogeneration, with the remaining part in heat-only boilers. Afterwards, CHP decreased by 35% until 2012 due to the end of the feed-in tariff in Hungary.
For the period 2014-2020, approximately 140 million EUR available support is planned within the Environmental and Energy Efficiency Operational Programme for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in district heating systems. According to the National Energy Strategy 2030, the share of energy use from renewables for residential and institutional heating will increase to 32% and the use of renewable energy will double by 2030. The best framework for renewable heat is district heating.
There is more and more demand for cooling in Hungary. However, the majority of new private public and commercial buildings as well as some private houses are equipped with air conditioning. At present there is no interest in district cooling in Hungary due to high costs. Moreover, there is neither a price subvention nor any investment supporting tender for district cooling.