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Vulnerabilities Hungary

Wintertime heating demand in Hungary is estimated to decrease by 6 to 8 % by 2021 to 2050 (10).

Cooling water

For 2070-2099 compared with 1971-2000, European countries with the largest projected increases in water temperature are: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Macedonia. Most of these countries are also expected to experience strong declines in low flow (Q10). The combination of strong increases in water temperature and declines in low flow are expected to be most critical for cooling water use by the energy sector in these regions (17).

Renewable resources in Hungary

In 2006 electricity from renewable resources in Hungary (in GWh/a) was 186 hydropower, 32 biogas, 43 windpower and 1278 biomass (12).

Wind share of total electricity consumption in Hungary was 1.4% by the end of 2010. Overall in the EU, in a normal wind year, installed wind capacity at the end of 2010 meets 5.3% of the EU’s electricity needs (11).

Regarding hydropower the topographic conditions of the country do not offer too many options. The theoretical hydroelectric potential of the country is 110,000 kWh/km2 and only the Netherlands has potentials lower than this in whole Europe (13).

In Hungary, the conditions for utilizing geothermal energy are theoretically favourable because the geothermal gradient (ºC/m. along the depth of the borehole) is larger than the global average. Nevertheless one should be very careful with the utilisation of the thermal groundwater resources of Hungary because these waters are of much higher value as medicinal waters than sources of energy and the exploitation rate of these resources is already in a balanced but critical state (13).

As opposed to the use of fossil fuels, the combustion of firewood produced by sustainable forest management will result in a neutral carbon balance, since the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by wood-combustion will be equal to the quantity that had been fi xed by the forest via photosynthesis. The use of wood for power generation is of growing importance also in Hungary. Presently 72% of the renewable power production stems from wood. In order to enhance Hungary’s reaching the EU level in this context it would be highly desirable to urgently start the selection of sites suitable for energy plantation along with the selection of suitable tree species and the upgrading of the respective machinery (for harvesting forest, making chips, barking and for waste-wood briquetting and for suitable furnaces, etc.) (13).

Vulnerabilities Europe


The current key renewable energy sources in Europe are hydropower (19.8% of electricity generated) and wind. By the 2070s, hydropower potential for the whole of Europe is expected to decline by 6%, translated into a 20 to 50% decrease around the Mediterranean, a 15 to 30% increase in northern and eastern Europe and a stable hydropower pattern for western and central Europe (1,3,4). In areas with increased precipitation and runoff, dam safety may become a problem due to more frequent and intensive flooding events (5).

It has become apparent during recent heat waves and drought periods that electricity generation in thermal power plants may be affected by increases in water temperature and water scarcity. In the case of higher water temperatures the discharge of warm cooling water into the river may be restricted if limit values for temperature are exceeded. Electricity production has already had to be reduced in various locations in Europe during very warm summers (e.g. 2003, 2005 and 2006) (5,8).

Extreme heat waves can pose a serious threat to uninterrupted electricity supplies, mainly because cooling air may be too warm and cooling water may be both scarce and too warm (9).

Climate change will impact thermoelectric power production in Europe through a combination of increased water temperatures and reduced river flow, especially during summer. In particular, thermoelectric power plants in southern and south-eastern Europe will be affected by climate change. Using a physically based hydrological and water temperature modelling framework in combination with an electricity production model, a summer average decrease in capacity of power plants of 6.3–19% in Europe was shown for 2031–2060 compared with 1971-2000, depending on cooling system type and climate scenario (SRES B1 and A2) (16).

Overall, a decrease in low flows (10th percentile of daily distribution) for Europe (except Scandinavia) is projected with an average decrease of 13-15% for 2031–2060 and 16-23% for 2071-2100,compared with 1971-2000. Increases in mean summer (21 June - 20 September) water temperatures are projected of 0.8-1.0°C for 2031–2060 and 1.4-2.3°C for 2071-2100, compared with 1971-2000. Projected water temperature increases are highest in the south-western and south-eastern parts of Europe (16).

By the 22nd century, land area devoted to biofuels may increase by a factor of two to three in all parts of Europe (2).


It may become more challenging to meet energy demands during peak times due to more frequent heat waves and drought conditions (1). Strong distributional patterns are expected across Europe — with rising cooling (electricity) demand in summer in southern Europe, compared with reduced heating (energy) demand in winter in northern Europe (7).

Adaptation strategies in Hungary

Hungary considers the following actions (a.o.) as necessary ones (13):

  • increase of energy efficiency by considering externalities and economic efficiency with special regard to the buildings and traffic/transportation.
  • construct pumped hydropower storage systems and other means of storing energy (e.g. Hydrogen production) in order to match the energy offered by the renewable sources to the needs of the consumers (e.g. to reduce the asynchrony).
  • consider all possible sources of energy as options (no sources to be sacred and no sources demonised).
  • make sure that the organs and institutions of the state show a good example in climate-concerned behaviour.
  • decrease the weather vulnerability of the energy supply system.
  • construct power supply networks in such a way that the consumer may get their energy from several directions.
  • make preparations for the reliable meeting of energy demand also in emergency situations caused by extreme weather events.
  • get prepared for supplying the extra energy in the summer period, which will likely be demanded by the air conditioners.
  • meet local power demand with the use of local sources of energy.
  • decrease the water demand of the energy industry.
  • expansion of the options of Combined Heat and Power production at small and large scale.
  • develop the safety and security systems of new technologies (e.g. the use of hydrogen) and to increase the general acceptance of new technologies.
  • develop options for enhancing “teleworking” (working at home).
  • support the reduction of the use of materials, their reuse and recycling.
  • increase the market-share of long lasting (non-disposable) products and to support the social acceptance of these products.
  • enhance energy-saving and environment-aware education starting with that in kindergarten.

Community-based adaptation (CBA)

The city of Tatabanya, which is about 50 kilometers from Budapest, offers an example of how community members can be an important driver and resource in climate adaptation. Tatabanya has approximately 72,000 residents, including 6,500 individuals of school age. This former mining and industrial town was known for its high levels of pollution. Among their many accomplishments, they have implemented a heat and UV alert program, organized teams to assist in the development of a local climate strategy, initiated a call for tenders on energy efficient housing, established emissions reduction targets, and implemented educational and information programs (14).

CBA is based on two premises:

  • vulnerability to the impacts of climate change will be influenced by the local capacity to innovate and change;
  • local communities have the ability to assess conditions and adapt.

CBA has the potential to be a valuable asset in an urban climate adaptation toolkit. For instance, in a demonstration project funded by the European Commission, property owners and renters in Hungary and Bulgaria have been taught how to organize themselves and manage energy efficient renovation (15). As this example suggest, CBA offers a way to draw on local knowledge and skills while providing a means to organize local communities and residents to aid in the adaptation process.


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Hungary.

  1. Lehner et al. (2005), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  2. Metzger et al. (2004), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  3. Kirkinen et al. (2005), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  4. Veijalainen and Vehviläinen (2006); Andréasson et al. (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  5. Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  6. Rothstein et al. (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  7. Alcamo et al., 2007
  8. EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
  9. Behrens et al. (2010)
  10. Vajda et al. (2004),in : Alcamo et al. (2007)
  11. European Wind Energy Association (2011)
  12. Hungarian Energy Office (2006), in: Farago et al. (2010)
  13. Farago et al. (2010)
  14. Moravcsik and Botos (2007), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  15. Concerto (2007), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  16. Van Vliet et al. (2012)
  17. Van Vliet et al. (2015)

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