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EU emergency plan: This is how Europe wants to save gas from today (or not)


In order to reduce energy consumption, people in the Netherlands should take shorter showers, Greece is thinning out the street lighting. And Hungary? Completely blocks the plans. An overview.

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Eiffel Tower at night: France wants to save on the lighting


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Shorter showers, less lighting, sweating in the office: With measures like these, the EU countries want to save gas in the coming months in order to be prepared for an emergency - a possible delivery stop from Russia.

The so-called gas emergency plan of the EU has been in effect since this Tuesday.

It stipulates that the 27 states will voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 15 percent from the beginning of August to the end of March 2023, compared to the average consumption over the past five years.

If that is not enough, binding targets can come into force.

But an overview shows that not all countries want to implement the plan consistently.

While some EU member states are already working on specific energy saving plans, others are opting for voluntary solutions - or have not yet presented any plans at all to implement the European savings target.

An overview:

  • Germany

    is particularly dependent on Russian gas and, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, wants to achieve even more than the agreed 15 percent.

    In order to save gas, a hard coal-fired power plant, which was last held in reserve, has been producing electricity again since the end of July.

    Others are to follow, as well as lignite-fired power plants.

    A campaign aims to motivate people to save energy.

    Savings are also planned in public buildings, in which areas that are only used sporadically, such as corridors or foyers, are no longer to be heated.

    A mandatory inspection is to come for natural gas heating systems in residential buildings.

    For companies, the opportunity to sell unused gas volumes in auctions should offer incentives to save energy.

  • Austria

    relies on other fuels.

    The decommissioned coal-fired power plant in Mellach is to be put back into operation if necessary.

    In addition, large companies and power plants should also be able to use crude oil as an alternative to gas from autumn, with the state bearing the costs for the conversion.

    In addition, a campaign to save energy will be launched in the autumn.

    According to the Ministry of Energy, the high prices alone have already ensured that around seven percent less gas was consumed in the first half of the year than in the same period last year.

  • In


    , public administration and the private sector should take the lead in saving energy.

    To this end, targeted plans are being drawn up for the sectors, including air conditioning and lighting in buildings.

    For example, authorities are required not to leave devices on stand-by and to cool and heat less.

    Some supermarkets have announced that they will close the doors more consistently when the air conditioning is on.

    In case of doubt, the government wants to enforce this with fines for all transactions.

    At the same time, the heavily shut down nuclear power plants are to be set up as well as possible for the winter and the production of renewable energy is to be promoted.

  • The


    are primarily focusing on cost-cutting measures by the population - and want to convince them with an advertising campaign: Citizens should take shorter showers and turn the heating down by at least one degree.

    However, specifications for the industry are not excluded and should be announced after the summer.

    Since the start of the energy crisis, the country has used around 25 percent less gas per month than in previous years.

  • Belgium

    has called on citizens to save energy.

    Gas consumption fell in the first half of the year due to the high prices alone.

  • In


    , public offices are only allowed to be cooled down to 25 degrees, and the temperature when heating is reduced from 20 to 19 degrees.

    It is also being considered to shorten the heating period by two weeks.

    For the time being, no restrictions on gas consumption are planned for industry.

  • In


    , the authorities are no longer allowed to cool rooms below 26 degrees, and street lighting is to be reduced to what is absolutely necessary.

    A program financed by the state and EU funds is also currently underway, in which citizens can replace old air conditioners and refrigerators with new, energy-saving devices.

    In addition, some coal-fired power plants are to be restarted, while other power plants are to be switched from gas to oil operation.

  • Spain

    is not only saving in public institutions.

    Department stores, cinemas, workplaces, hotels, train stations and airports will also only be allowed to cool their premises to 27 degrees and heat them to a maximum of 19 degrees.

    In addition, shops and businesses with automatic systems must keep their doors closed.

    The lighting of unused offices, shop windows and monuments must be switched off after 10 p.m.

  • According to the government, Finland

    has already halved its gas consumption in the past ten years and has further reduced it since the Russian invasion of Ukraine - according to the government there is no immediate need for further measures.

  • In


    , too, the energy saving target has already been achieved.

  • Sweden

    encourages citizens to save energy with a comprehensive online guide.

  • According to Economy and Infrastructure Minister Riina Sikkut, Estonia

    has already reduced consumption by 16 percent compared to the five-year average.

    Nevertheless, heat suppliers and industry are called upon to save gas and switch to other fuels.

    In addition, domestic but climate-damaging oil shale could partially replace the gas in the coming heating period.

  • According to Deputy Energy Minister Albinas Zananavicius, Lithuania does not have to take any additional measures


    The reason for this, in addition to a price-related decline in demand, is also the plans of the capital Vilnius to replace natural gas with heating oil in the coming heating period.

  • In


    , the government is still working on guidelines to implement the energy saving measures.

  • In contrast, the national-conservative government in


    does not see itself bound by the savings target of 15 percent.

    The voluntary nature of the regulation is emphasized.

  • Hungary

    is blocking the plans completely: the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has categorically ruled out the implementation of the goal.

  • The Czech Republic

    relies largely on voluntary measures.

    For example, consumers in the Czech Republic have already reduced their gas consumption because of the high prices.

  • There are no concrete plans in


    either, although a study is in progress.

  • The interim government in


    has not yet formulated any measures to implement the 15 percent target.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-08-09

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