The Ombudsman for Future Generations to initiate the amendment of the Act on Environmental Protection Product Charges in connection with solar cells

Acting within his statutory competence, Ombudsman for Future Generations Marcel Szabó is going to initiate the amendment of Schedule № 1 to Act LXXXV of 2011 on Environmental Protection Product Charges (hereinafter the "EPPC Act") in order to have all electric and electronic equipment utilizing renewable energy exempted from such product charges.

The Preamble of the EPPC Act specifies the objectives of introducing such product charges as follows: to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of environmental pollution and to facilitate activities for the pursuit of the practical and prudent management of natural resources. By virtue of the aforementioned Schedule to the amended EPPC Act, effective as of 1 January 2015, all solar cells (photovoltaic cells and panels) and all generators and control units used in wind power plants are subject to such product charges. They are subject to EP product charges irrespective of the fact that these equipment prominently contribute to the realization of the objectives declared by the Act at every stage of the process (from mining and transporting fuels through generating, transforming and transmitting electricity), to the practical and prudent management of fossil fuels as finite and increasingly scarce natural resources, and to combating climate change. Article P of the Fundamental Law of Hungary places all natural resources, our nation's common heritage, under constitutional protection.

The National Energy Strategy of Hungary and the Renewable Energy Action Plan based thereon envisage, among others and in accordance with our EU commitments, the utilization of geothermal and solar energy, the rational spreading of wind power plants. To this end, the Action Plan sets forward, combined with regulatory incentives, the application of such assistance instruments as production support, direct incentives, investment aid and green financing. Subjecting renewable energy equipment to the product charge is definitely in conflict with those objectives and diminishes the effectiveness of various support measures and incentives.

In view of the foregoing, the Ombudsman for Future Generations is going to propose the amendment of the relevant act in order to have all equipment designed for the utilization of solar and wind energy exempted from environmental protection product charges.

Budapest, 12 January 2015

Dr Marcel Szabó

Ombudsman for Future Generations