July 02, 2012

Country Module “Hungary, Slovak & Czech Republics”

From June 19th to 22nd 2012 the students from the MSc Program „Renewable Energy in Central & Eastern Europe”, class 2011-2013, had the opportunity to travel to Prague to the second country module in the Czech Republic.

The Poděbrady hydroelectric plant on the Labe (Elbe) river

This module offered an in-depth look on the (renewable) energy situation in three Central European countries, namely the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary. It was hosted by EkoWATT, one of the Czech Republic’s main consulting companies in the area of renewable energy.

At first Gabor Milics and Attila Kovacs from the University of West Hungary lectured on the (renewable) energy situation in their country. The next day, the Czech case was presented by Jaroslav Knapek from the Technical University of Prague. The Slovakian situation was presented by Karol Galek from Energiepark Bruck/Leitha.  

The lectures focused on the strengths and potentials of renewable energy production, past and future development scenarios, the legal situation and economic frameworks, as well as investment perspectives in these three countries. Pros and cons were discussed from administrators and investors points of view. All three countries were analyzed to have very different socio-economic and political preconditions for the development of various renewable energy projects.

Additionally, we had Christian Weiser and Rudolf Zauner in as guest lecturers. Both are working in the renewable energy sector and talked to us about their practical experience with current renewable energy projects.

On the third day an excursion was organized by our host EkoWATT, where the students visited the new and state of the art 38 megawatt-peak photovoltaic plant in Vepřek, 30km NW from Prague. The group also visited a very nice example of how to integrate renewable energy projects into a village economy in Kněžice. Oil and gas were largely substituted by local resources. A biogas plant and wood chip / straw fired district heating plant help to close local material cycles. We could also visit a 100 year old, but well maintained 1 megawatt hydroelectric plant on the Elbe river in the resort town of Poděbrady.

All things considered, the students could gain a good understanding of the (renewable) energy situation in the Czech and Slovak Republics as well as in Hungary and an idea how to go about investing in renewable energy projects in these countries. Many were inspired by the potentials waiting to be developed.

(Text: Ralf Roggenbauer)


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