The European Commission releases today a new legislative tool and a European Gas Demand Reduction Plan, aimed at cutting gas use in Europe by 15% until next spring, amid lingering threats of a complete halt of Russian gas flows.
The Communication identifies a series of preventive measures and practices that can be taken immediately to free up gas supply, encouraging Member States to prioritise the switch to renewables or cleaner options. Furthermore, it acknowledges the possibility to temporarily switch to coal, oil or nuclear, as long as it avoids long term carbon lock-in.
Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric said:
“We stand by the public authorities in their endeavours to prepare for winter, mobilising financial and human capital to ensure a reliable electricity supply. It is critical to start energy savings now, to make sure we can cope with any foreseen or unforeseen situation going forward”
Electrification offers a clean, energy efficient alternative to sectors that are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. By operating the switch to electric heating, transport, and industrial applications, Europe can save energy and cut its dependence on imports.
Over the past years Europe has relied on Russia for 40% of its gas supplies, 27% of oil imports and 46% of its coal needs. As Russia choked the gas supply, the energy prices followed a dizzying ascent. This had damaging implications for the power sector, especially where claw-back mechanisms and taxes on alleged windfall profits have been implemented in an attempt to curb down prices. Such measures risk distorting the electricity market and impact investments in the much needed clean and renewable capacities.