E.ON Survey Shows Support for Renewables, Need for Innovative Grid Solutions

Green Energy

Survey by E.ON Hungária Shows Strong Public Support for Renewables and Need for Enhanced Grid Solutions"

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Today, energy security is one of the most important issues for society in Europe. Hungarian families and businesses are becoming increasingly energy-conscious, but, there is relatively little information on how people think the electricity grid works, whether they know how it works, or how its development is key to building a climate-friendly, fossil-free energy system for the country in the future.

E.ON Hungária Group commissioned a nationally representative survey to compile a comprehensive portrait of the knowledge, assumptions, and expectations of 16–65-year-olds in Hungary regarding the energy sector. The questionnaire portion of the survey was supplemented by in-depth interviews.

The most important finding of the research is that the Hungarian population sees energy supply and associated grid solutions not as a service, but as one of life’s basics, a necessity for everyday life. At the same time, they are also taking aspects of the future into account. In other words, while changes to the economic environment have brought saving energy to the fore, underpinned by the desire to save money, on sustainability there is apparent social consensus, which transcends generational divides.

An overwhelming majority of the population would shift towards renewables - 92% of respondents would like to see this happen. They even believe that energy production today is already more reliant on clean energy sources, especially solar and wind, than it actually is. Most respondents would like to increase the share of solar (76%), wind (65%) and geothermal (43%). This advancement is expected from the service provider, which is essential to the production of renewables and plays a role in developing products that enable a green lifestyle.

Digitalization an Expectation, but Uncertainty Lingers About Its Meaning

Digitalization is a tangible element of the advancement areas to be covered by service providers. However, Hungarian citizens have a different notion of that than service providers do: while current network developments and those set for the near future focus mainly on meeting forthcoming electricity demand and on solutions to increase security of supply, such as automatic fault detection and repair, respondents are more interested in digital innovations that increase convenience levels or enhance conscious consumption opportunities. While respondents are aware of the challenges involved with electricity storage, 74% of them do not expect solutions from the service provider.

One lesson from the research is that there is a lack of understanding and transparency for the general public on the precise role of various players in the sector involved in the production, transport and distribution of energy. Two-thirds of respondents indicated they felt uninformed in this area and significantly underestimated both the number of customers served by E.ON Hungária Group and the length of the company's network. The 88,000 km length of E.ON’s electricity network in Hungary is equivalent to two times around the Earth’s equator.

Network Development a Must, but at What Pace?

Respondents have a realistic notion of the need for grid development and its main drivers, such as increasing household energy use, or the integration of weather-dependent renewables - and that such advancements will put a lot of pressure on the entire industry. However, they are not optimistic about how quickly it will happen, suggesting that no significant change is likely in the next five years.

E.ON Hungária Group is already investing heavily in investments that will allow more renewables to be connected to the grid, increase security of supply, and meet growing energy demand. The group plans to invest EUR 1 billion in Hungary in the next few years to improve its networks, relying on innovations such as battery energy storage technologies, smart metering sensors that can detect "invisible" grid faults, and household smart meters.

Moreover, the public in Hungary is highly optimistic when it comes to technology: they anticipate advancements to deliver environmentally sustainable energy solutions that help them save money.

Building on the results of this research, E.ON Group is launching an awareness-raising video campaign with TV personality Gergely Papp. The first of these special reports will be about the electricity journey, showing how far it travels from the power station to the socket, what happens at a transformer station, and the connection between trees and power lines.

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