A recently conducted survey of large energy consumers across all sectors in the four Visegrad countries (V4) reveals that they have a strong interest in renewable electricity – both self-producing and purchasing.
The survey was conducted across Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia by members of the Visegrad+ for Renewable Energy Platform (V+RE).
“Companies want to go green and use renewable energy. This stands in contrast to low ambition in the countries’ current National Energy and Climate Plans but it shows potential for upward revision of the plans following final agreement on a new EU 2030 climate target,” said Rebekka Popp, Policy Advisor at think tank E3G.
Companies are more ambitious than national governments
Many of the companies surveyed have plans to transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. This stands in contrast to the National Energy and Climate Plans of the V4 countries, which fail to seize the region’s potential for renewable energy, as previous assessments show.
According to recent analysis, Slovakia, Czechia and Hungary are the three EU Member States with the lowest share of wind and solar power in electricity production so there is plenty of room for improvement.
Poland, the country with the highest share of coal energy, is now on the path to becoming the most powerful player in offshore wind in the Baltic region and has seen a boost in photovoltaic development.
Irena Gajewska, Public Affairs Manager at Polish Wind Energy Association, said, “Poland needs a revolution. Already today renewables such as onshore wind and PV can easily fuel the state’s welfare. Polish industry is increasingly worried about high energy prices associated with a slow coal exit and wants cheaper renewables quickly. We must dare take up the challenge now.”
Large companies from V4 urge governments to help them decarbonise
The advantage of renewables is that companies can adopt different strategies to procure renewable electricity depending on their needs and circumstances. The survey revealed a strong interest in on-site self-production (11 out of 36 companies) and purchasing green electricity or certificates proving clean electricity consumption (8 out of 36 companies).
However, companies continue to face barriers to self-production or purchasing more electricity from renewable sources, and many of these are political. This includes a lack of political long-term strategies, restrictive legislation and administrative obstacles. National governments have a central role to play in creating favourable conditions, allowing these companies to procure green electricity through financial and political support and drive the growth of renewable energy capacity in the region.
“Clear regulatory support, stability and predictability are key for companies to continue their transition into green. This is even more important during the covid recovery period. Cooperation among all stakeholders in public and private spheres is essential and has a significant accelerating effect on green investments. Renewable energy is for many companies core to the reduction of their carbon footprint,” said Eva Bučová, Chair of Sustainability Committee at ING Czech Republic.
About the survey and V+RE Platform
Members of the Visegrad+ for Renewable Energy Platform conducted an online survey with 36 responses from companies with facilities in one or more of the V4 countries. Companies surveyed operate across a variety of sectors, including large energy consumers from the manufacturing sector. Alongside this, in-depth interviews with 17 companies at the beginning of 2021 provided more detailed insights. The project was funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) of the UK government as part of the COP26 Presidency efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition.
The Visegrad+ for Renewable Energy Platform (V+RE) brings together renewable energy associations and think tanks from the Visegrad countries and Austria. 
Read more about RE-Source Poland’s work on removing barriers to renewable energy sourcing in Poland.