Could a €1 billion carbon-neutral town filled with greenhouses be coming to Hungary?

Could a €1 billion carbon-neutral town filled with greenhouses be coming to Hungary?

Hungary has released plans for a new farming city designed to be fully carbon-neutral and powered by renewable energy sources.

The €1 billion Hegyeshalom-Bezenye project is proposed for a barren strip of the Danube flood plain in the northwest of the country, near the border with Austria and Slovakia. Its 330 hectares — roughly the size of 500 football pitches — would draw mainly on solar and biogas power.

The proposals imagine this new agricultural centre being filled with greenhouses, providing as many as 5,000 permanent jobs and signal an “epoch change for agriculture”, according to Hungary’s Minister of Agriculture István Nagy, setting the stage for other coal-dependent regions in Europe to make the switch to clean energy. The Hungarian government is partnering with German developers FAKT and energy providers EON on the project.

Not only would Hegyeshalom-Bezenye be carbon neutral from the start, meaning that it would offset or eliminate all the carbon dioxide produced during its construction and in its lifetime, but it would also be cooled by geothermal plants and incorporate a sustainable water policy to preserve the local water table.

If completed, the greenhouse-filled town would also include about 1,000 homes and local amenities like schools and shops, as well as a hotel, restaurant, and railway station; and feature Europe’s largest inland fishery, cultivating species like salmon and sea bream to complement the town’s crop of tomatoes, peppers, and other essential Hungarian produce.

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