The members of the European Union are urgently drafting the plan to reduce energy consumption due to the fear of shortages that threaten in winter.
EU gas reserves are currently 71 percent full, about 9 percent less than the target set by the EU earlier this summer.
The member states have pledged to reduce their gas demands by 15 percent by March as part of the preventive measures. The stakes are not the same in all EU countries.
In Germany, the ban on Russian gas would hit industry hard and affect people’s ability to heat their homes.
In Sweden and Finland, where gas makes up a smaller part of the overall energy scheme, the impact would be less drastic.
A number of countries at risk, including Germany and France, have introduced plans to reduce energy consumption.
“This will have a ‘big impact’ on reducing consumption in the EU,” said Antonin Chapelot, political leader of the non-governmental organization Coalition for Energy Savings.
He stressed that in addition to immediate measures aimed at surviving the winter, governments would also need to take long-term steps, such as renovating buildings by making them more energy efficient, and switching to district heating technologies that are more energy efficient. environmentally acceptable.
The European Commission regulation requires a 15 percent reduction in gas consumption in the winter period, and allows member countries to determine the measures to achieve this goal.
The current measures and plans of certain EU countries are analyzed and ranked by Politico.
In mid-July, France unveiled its “clean energy” plan. Most of the measures are still in the draft stage and are expected to be presented at the end of October.
Agnes Pannier Runacher, the energy minister, warned that authorities intend to ban shops from leaving their doors open while heating and air conditioning equipment is in use.
The plan also aims to stop the operation of illuminated advertisements in all cities between 1 am and 6 am.
This measure has already been introduced in cities with less than 800 thousand inhabitants. Paris is expected to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent compared to the period of 2019. Otherwise, France imports about a fifth of its natural gas from Russia.
Spain took a more radical approach than other EU countries. It has already issued a decree that forces companies to set the air conditioner to 27 degrees Celsius in the summer and the heating to 19 degrees in the winter.
The government ordered shops to install automatic locks to prevent doors being left open while the heating is on, and also to keep shop windows unlit from 10pm. Families are currently not obliged to comply with these measures.
Spain receives only about 10 percent of its gas from Russia. Despite this, the Spaniards’ position is that the measures could reduce gas and oil consumption by 5 percent in the short term, which would bring them closer to the target of reducing energy consumption by 7 percent by March. of next year.
Germany is most dependent on Russian gas and one of the most vocal proponents of austerity.
However, there is still no binding plan to reduce energy consumption. At the end of July, a series of recommendations were made, some of which will be legally binding.
The government has called on users of public and business buildings to stop heating “rooms where people don’t spend most of their time”, as well as in corridors and large halls.
Large industries, as well as families, are invited to save, in order to maintain the minimum temperature in their apartments.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced new energy-saving regulations last week.
Heating in public facilities will be allowed at a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius, buildings and monuments will not be illuminated at night, as well as advertisements.
Given that there are no common regulations, many German cities and provinces have adopted their own measures, such as reducing street lighting and setting temperature limits in public buildings.
Berlin will turn off the floodlights that illuminate 200 historic buildings and monuments, while Bavaria unveiled its plan to save energy in public administration buildings.
Like Germany, Italy is heavily dependent on Russian gas with around 40 percent of imports coming from Moscow last year alone.
This country has not yet adopted any common plan. Environment Minister Roberto Cingolani said there would be no draconian spending cuts, but then the government announced in July it was drawing up an emergency austerity plan that could include limiting heating to 19 degrees Celsius during winter and cooling to 27 during in summer, reducing street lighting at night and closing shops early.
Italy’s plan is to reduce gas demand by 7 percent by March next year, partly by increasing coal-fired power generation. Cingolani is convinced that Italy will not have any problems until February, even if Russia completely shuts off the gas supply.
Poland has not adopted any national energy saving plan. There, the supply of Russian gas has already been suspended, and the Poles are more worried about the lack of coal.
In July, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on citizens to insulate their homes as best as possible before the heating season begins.
He announced that the state will give billions of subsidies to families, for better insulation and the purchase of “clean” heating systems. Energy experts fear that the country will lack one to two million tons of coal this winter.
So far, Poland has met about 40 percent of its gas needs from Russia’s imports, but gas holds 9 percent of its energy basket.
So far they have only published a “manual” on energy saving. Changes to the regulations are said to be in the works, which include shortening the official heating season, which governs the period of time during which thermal energy must be delivered to buildings.
The Czech Republic is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, with most of it going to industry and about a quarter used for heating households.
Average gas consumption per capita is 20 percent higher than the EU average, meaning that reducing demand could have a big impact.
The Czech Republic has announced it will increase coal production in an emergency and is now expecting more natural gas shipments from the Netherlands.
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