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Hungary: Fodor against hydroelectric plant plan for Zemplén

Hungarian Environment Minister Gábor Fodor recently said he is „not enthusiastic” about plans to build a pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant in the country’s Zemplén mountains.

Furthermore, Fodor agrees with a first-degree decision by local environmental authorities to reject one such plan, according to the daily Magyar Hírlap. Local green authorities recently rejected plans by investor group Szinerg 640 Kft to build two reservoirs in the Aranyos Valley, with capacity totaling 39 million cubic meters.

The decision followed a similar rejection of plans by project company SZET, backed by a number of alternative energy and agricultural companies, to build a pumped-storage hydro plant in the adjacent Hideg Valley. Both companies have appealed the decision, with second-degree rulings expected later this year. Fodor was cited as saying he agrees with the decision to block construction in the Aranyos Valley, because in its planned form the project would have involved cutting down large swathes of forest, which would have violated international agreements as parts of the project area lie on a protected nature reserve.

Construction of a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant has been seen by energy industry players as a solution to tackling Hungary’s renewable energy – especially wind energy – production problems, by alternately storing excess generation across the power grid, or producing electricity to meet high peak demand, it was reported. Fodor told the daily he does not oppose pumped-storage plants per se, but would like to ensure that any such plant is located in an appropriate area.

„Reservoirs are not a problem in themselves, because many such plants operate around the world, but the Aranyos Valley was a bad choice and therefore had to be rejected,” Fodor was quoted as saying. (