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17 Oct, 2022 12:58

EU warned of ‘fear and uncertainty’ this winter – WSJ

Cold weather could lead to energy shortages and higher prices, Italy’s energy minister says
EU warned of ‘fear and uncertainty’ this winter – WSJ

Europe could be facing severe problems this winter due to the energy crisis, according to Italy’s minister for energy transition, Roberto Cingolani.

This will be a winter dominated by fear and uncertainty… Barring catastrophes, such as extremely cold weather, if we keep consumption in check, we’ll get through the winter fine. We just have to hope nothing goes wrong,” Cingolani told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

According to the news outlet, European countries are relatively prepared for the heating season, with gas storages nearly full, but there are too many variables that could tip the energy balance in the region. For instance, a prolonged cold snap could boost energy demand, draining reserves and pushing up prices.

Low temperatures in Europe and across the Atlantic could also lead to a contest between the EU and North America for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies. On the other hand, a lack of windy conditions could stall the wind turbines, leading to power outages. Cloudy weather could also reduce solar-power generation. For now, according to the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European continent is forecast to see cold and still weather late this year, followed by milder conditions in early 2023.

However, according to Cingolani, the energy shortage itself is not the only problem.

The real problem isn’t shortage but pricing. Citizens may be unable to pay their bills and businesses risk closing down,” the minister warned.

Italy is one of several EU countries calling for a cap on gas prices, a measure which has sparked much controversy among member states. EU leaders are expected to meet later this week and decide whether or not the measure will be adopted. On Sunday, reports emerged that the European Commission has come up with a mechanism that would cap the price of transactions on the Dutch TTF index, which is a benchmark for all gas traded in Europe.

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