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21 Jul 2022, 14:12
Edgar Meza

German government and industry call for close EU coordination to reduce gas demand

Clean Energy Wire

German policymakers and utilities have welcomed a European Commission proposal asking EU member states to adopt voluntary measures to reduce gas consumption amid fears of Russia cutting off deliveries. “European solidarity is more important than ever in these times,” said German climate and economy minister Robert Habeck, adding that EU countries must strengthen precautionary measures together. “A key lever is to reduce gas consumption,” he said. “We all have to work on that with all our might.” If the gas supply runs into difficulties in one or more member states then it affects all EU countries, Habeck added. 

Utility association BDEW also called for close European coordination on the issue. "In order to ensure the gas supply as well as possible in the coming winter, it is necessary to reduce gas consumption as much as possible now,” said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae. “The energy markets in Europe are closely intertwined through the well-functioning internal gas market. In view of an imminent deterioration in the gas supply situation in many member states, we need a joint European effort.” She said it is vital that any gas saved is used to fill up storages in preparation for winter. Many of the proposed instruments are already in use in Germany or are currently being launched, including tenders to fill gas storage facilities, Andreae added. 

The European Commission is asking EU member states to reduce gas demand by 15 percent between August 2022 and April 2023. The proposal includes measures to switch to alternative fuels, develop auction programmes in industry, and launch public awareness campaigns to promote energy savings. It would also empower the European Commission to enforce consumption cuts in case of emergency, if voluntary measures are not sufficient.

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