The European Commission proposes to reduce gas consumption in the European Union by 15 percent between 1 August and 31 March. That austerity plan should arm the continent for winter without or with severely curtailed gas supplies from Russia.
‘Save gas for a safe winter’ is the name of the plan with which the Commission wants to respond to the use of gas supplies as a weapon of war. The basic principle is that the Member States will voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 15 percent for eight months. However, a regulation on the table could make this target binding in an emergency scenario where serious shortages threaten.
The Commission is asking the Member States to update their national emergency plans by the end of September, explaining how they will achieve gas savings. The Commission published a plan with measures, principles and criteria to save gas from guiding them. The emphasis is on replacing gas with other fuels and energy savings in all sectors. The aim is to safeguard supplies for families, essential service providers such as hospitals, and certain essential industries.
The Commission emphasizes that the Member States should start saving and replacing gas this summer so that more gas can be stored for the winter. It was previously agreed that the reserves must be 80 percent filled by November. Replacing gas with renewable sources is a priority, but the Commission recognizes that a temporary switch to coal, oil, or nuclear energy may also prove necessary.