EU’s biggest geothermal system is built in Hungary!

The city of Szeged took a big step forward in the fight against climate change, as the city has built the biggest geothermal system in Europe. Now it provides 27 thousand homes and 400 public buildings with warm water and heating. Fight against climate change: the geothermal system of Szeged According to Euronews, Szeged now provides thousands of homes with reusable energy, as the city has built the second biggest geothermal system. After Reykjavík, it’s the biggest in the continent, where only 6 countries, led by Italy, produced geothermal energy in 2023.

The local government in Szeged decided to reconstruct their old system built in the 1980s, as it had previously used natural gas, a nonrenewable fossil fuel. The old district heating contributed to the city’s air pollution as well. The construction itself took 2-3 years to complete, and now the system uses thermal water as a much more environmentally friendly solution. It is a type of water found under the surface, warmed by the Earth’s natural heat. This water could be used for multiple purposes. Szeged sets an example to other countries The new system in Szeged cost EUR 70 million altogether, of which 23 million was funded by the EU’s cohesion fund. The initial goal was to reduce gas usage by 50% and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 tons.

This means that when the weather is cold, they only need to use half of the gas used originally as the other half used is geothermic. When the weather is nicer, geothermic energy is enough to cover their usage. As the project seems successful, the question may arise: can other Hungarian cities follow Szeged in using geothermal energy? Medgyes Tamás, the chief operating officer of the managing company, told Euronews that the project has great importance as other big cities in Europe still use nonrenewable energy. Many of them would like to copy the model used by Szeged. As he reported, Serbia, Romania, and even countries from Western Europe are seeing the city as an example. Szeged’s geothermal system is also a crucial element in the EU’s plan of using less Russian gas in the future, as they aim to be less dependent on imported gas due to the energy crisis. Hungary still dependent on Russian gas Photo: Unsplash As Népszava recently reported, the Orbán cabinet decided to buy Russian gas instead of purchasing it on the energy market.

There are seven European countries altogether to do so, and Hungary pays the most for the Russian gas. The gas purchase contract was signed in 2021, and as the media outlet calculated, the financial damage it caused Hungary is approximately EUR 1.45 billion. Two state-owned companies took part in the deal, Gazprom (Russian), and MVM (Hungarian). László Miklós, an energy market expert, said that as the Hungarian government already signed the long-term contract with Russia, it would not be beneficial to break the deal. He also said that the government doesn’t tell the truth about the deal, as it doesn’t support the utility decrease price scheme. The Orbán cabinet also claims that Russian gas is the cheapest in the market, but never supported the claim with numbers.