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Europe tightens its energy belt

Posted November. 03, 2022 07:32,   

Updated November. 03, 2022 07:32


‘Air dry laundry instead of using the dryer’ (Denmark), ‘Keep shower time under two minutes’ (Slovakia), and ‘Use sauna with others, not alone’ (Finland)….

European countries are ‘tightening their energy belts’ before winter as they struggle with sourcing natural gas due to the Ukrainian war, according to the New York Times on Tuesday. As Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off the gas supply to Western countries supporting Ukraine, weaponizing energy, the countries are making efforts to reduce energy consumption in public offices and homes.

Major European countries, including Germany, France, and Denmark, are limiting heating at public buildings and turning off street lights per government instructions to reduce energy consumption. Individuals and private companies are also recommended to limit the room temperature to 19 degrees Celsius. Instructions to avoid using electricity during peak hours and pull out plugs when leaving were also given. However, it is unclear how cooperative citizens will be with such energy-saving measures.

As of now, it is expected that serious chaos can be avoided as countries have enough emergency energy reserves, and the temperature in early winter is higher than the average year. European governments have secured energy reserves by importing LNG from countries other than Russia and extending the operation of nuclear power plants or restarting the operation of thermal power plants.

However, public complaints are growing due to the energy crisis, as seen in large demonstrations in France and the Czech Republic against high inflation.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com