Brussels asks all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% by spring 2023


Brussels asks all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% by spring 2023

The fear that Russia will cut off gas supplies to the European Union overnight has led the European Commission to redouble pressure to that the 27 Member Statesreduce the consumption of this fossil fuel as much as possible. The new emergency plan proposed this Wednesday proposes a cut of 15% during the next eight months, from August 1 to March 31, 2023, with voluntary measures at first . To achieve the new goal, Brussels warns, everyone will have to do their bit: consumers, public administrations, households, building owners, gas suppliers and industry.

If there is insufficient progress or the situation deteriorates, due to a serious gas shortage or an exceptionally high spike in demand, for example caused by a sudden cut in supply from Russia, the European Commission raises the possibility to equip itself with the powers to declare a European alert,That allows it to make the reduction mandatory in all member states, with binding objectives. To calculate the 15% cut, Brussels would take into account the average consumption in the same period during the period 2016- 2021.

The European Commission now aspires to obtain the endorsement of the Twenty-seven at the extraordinary meeting of energy ministers convened by the Czech presidency of the EU to strong>next July 26. “Now is the phase of reminding the member states how strong we are when we show solidarity,” von der Leyen pointed out, anticipating possible resistance to the regulation from some European capitals that have the last word on the measures to be adopted.

Brussels asks all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% by spring 2023

Plans for September

According to the new plan, baptized with the name Save gas for a safe winter, all member states will have to update before the end of September< /strong>their national emergency plans. In them, they will have to detail the measures to reduce demand that they plan to adopt to comply with the 15% cut that, according to Brussels estimates, will save 45,000 million cubic meters. , the figure they consider necessary to overcome a colder winter than usual in case the Kremlin closes the gas tap.

In addition, every two months,member states will have to report to the community executive on progress. Those countries that request the rest of the member states “solidarity” They will also have to demonstrate that they have taken the promised measures to reduce demand at the household level.

Confronting Vladimir Putin

The central objective of the plan is to stop Putin's attempts to use energy against the European continent. “Russia is blackmailing us. It uses energy as a weapon. Therefore, whether it is a partial or total cut, Europe must be prepared”, warned the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, which has insisted that the Twenty-seven must be prepared for the worst because it is the probable scenario, including the possibility that Gazprom does not reactivate the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, in technical stoppage for maintenance since last 11 July and it should be reactivated this Thursday.

“We have seen that Gazprom has no interest in rebalancing the market. On the contrary, it kept its storage levels as low as possible, and supplies as low as possible, reducing supply, tightening the market and driving up prices.” prices”, criticized Von der Leyen. So far, there are already a dozen EU countries that have seen how Moscow is thwarted. has turned off the tap or reduced the flow, like Poland, Finland, Bulgaria or Germany.

The proposal arrives with the EU's underground deposits 65% full, still far from the 80% that the gas reserves should reach by November 1 and that will be the next day. very hard to come by if Putin cuts off supply. The situation, in any case, is disparate. In Bulgaria reserves do not reach 40% while in Spain they are already at 74% and in Portugal at 100%. On a positive note, the shipments of liquefied natural gas from third countries that have skyrocketed in the first half of 2022 -up to 35,000 million additional cubic meters- thanks to agreements with Norway, Egypt, Azerbaijan, United States, Qatar or Algeria.

To reduce demand in a coordinated manner throughout the EU, the Community Executive is committed to replacing gas with other fuels through incentives and energy savings. ;global tico in all sectors with the aim of guaranteeing supply to protected customers or other key industries for the economy as well as like supply chains. “If gas is replaced by other fuels and energy is saved this summer, it will be possible to save energy. Store more gas for winter. Acting now will reduce the negative impact on GDP, by avoiding unforeseen actions in a later crisis situation”, defends the European Commission. According to his estimates, the European economy could shrink between 0.6% and 1% if Moscow were to withdraw. it completely interrupts the supply in the case of an average winter, and between 0.9% and 1.5% in the case of a colder than usual winter.

Alternative fuels

Before reaching rationing measures, which are the last resort, Brussels recommends exhausting all possibilities of fuel substitution, non-compulsory saving plans and alternative energy sources. To the extent possible, in addition, member states should give priority to switch to renewable energy or cleaner options, less intensive in carbon or less polluting such as biomass, biomethane or solar energy. Although Brussels admits that the switch to coal, oil or nuclear power may be necessary as a temporary measure, as long as long-term carbon lock-in is avoided. < /p>

In addition to promoting the use of other fuelsTo generate electricity, Brussels proposes auction or bidding systems to encourage change in the industry, in exchange for compensation or public aid, as well as public aid. such as the reduction of heating and air conditioning consumption. In this field, the Commission urges all member states to launch public awareness promote the reduction of heating and cooling on a large scale, and to set an example by taking these measures in buildings managed by public authorities.

The plan also provides guidelines to the twenty-seven to determine the hierarchy of “non-protected” customers or industries; -protected customers such as homes, hospitals or schools are exempt from any rationing measure- when planning cutbacks, in the event that they have to ration gas in the future. The proposal, takes into account economic considerations, if they belong to sectors of “social criticality”, such as health, security, refineries, and defense, as well as other sectors. such as the provision of environmental services, if they are part of cross-border supply chains in critical services such as: such as the possible impact on facilities in the event of outages and the ability to substitute imported components or products.


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