EU issues advice on ‘compensating for’ Russian gas

21 Jun, 2022 10:25 / Updated 2 years ago
The European Commission has urged people to lower the heating by two degrees

EU citizens could conserve energy in order to completely compensate for Russian gas from the first Nord Stream pipeline, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.

“If we… decrease the heating in Europe by two degrees, or the cooling, less air conditioning, this would compensate for the whole delivery [from] Nord Stream 1,” von der Leyen told The Irish Times, referring to the Baltic Sea pipeline that delivers gas from Russia to Germany.

The commission chief said Brussels has emergency plans to mitigate the impact of any disruptions of the supply, which include conserving energy and prioritizing needs.

“It’s a lot of work still. And the circumstances are serious,” von der Leyen said.

Saint Petersburg energy giant Gazprom has reduced the flow via Nord Stream 1, citing technical issues.

The EU plans to phase out Russian gas by 2030 as part of its response to Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, which was launched in late February. However, several countries, including Germany, have repeatedly warned that their economies would suffer if the flow were to stop immediately.

Last week, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck once again called on people and businesses to cut back on their energy use. “The time to do this has arrived,” he said. “Every kilowatt-hour helps in this situation.”

Habeck later said that more gas must be pumped into storage facilities and that coal-fired power plants have to be used to backfill the energy needed to generate electricity. The Netherlands and Austria said they would also lift restrictions on coal-burning.

Reuters reported that Italy may declare a state of alert on gas this week, which would trigger measures aimed at reducing gas consumption.