A plan to reduce gas consumption has come into force in the EU. This is how Europe wants to prepare for a possible halt in Russian gas supplies.
The European Union’s emergency gas plan went into force on Tuesday, with member states being asked to reduce their gas use and work towards filling gas storage ahead of winter.
The plan has been introduced to counter the shortfall of supply that would arise if Russia were to cut off its delivery of gas amid tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Gas deliveries from Russia to the EU have already been significantly reduced in moves seen by many as a “weaponization” of energy supplies by Moscow.
EU member states are being asked to voluntarily reduce gas consumption by 15% between August 1 and March 31, as compared with the average consumption in the same period during the past five years.
Under the plan, which was approved by EU energy ministers in late July, the savings targets could be made mandatory in case of a supply emergency.
However, there are numerous opt-outs for individual countries and industries, and at least 15 EU countries representing at least 65% of the bloc’s total population would have to approve for the targets to be made binding.
Spain and Italy are among the countries to have obtained exemptions from the 15% savings target.
The plan aims to save 45 billion cubic meters of gas overall. According to the European Commission, Germany, as a big gas user, will have to account for some 10 billion cubic meters of that amount.