The EC encourages member states to maintain the 15% reduction. gas demand

Luc Williams

The European Commission encourages Member States to maintain a 15% reduction in gas demand compared to average demand for the period April 2017 to March 2022, the Commission said. The current emergency regulations on this matter are scheduled to expire on March 31.

“Savings gas by businesses and citizens across EU have made a significant contribution to the fight against the energy crisis caused by Russian invasion of Ukraine two years ago. In total, the EU reduced gas demand by 18% between August 2022 and December 2023, saving approximately 101 billion cubic meters of gas. These efforts go beyond the 15% savings target agreed in the emergency legislation adopted in summer 2022 and have been essential to maintaining stable supplies, stabilizing EU energy markets and showing solidarity with Ukraine.

Further measures?

As the emergency provisions are due to expire on 31 March and the situation is more stable than in the last two years, the Commission now proposes to adopt a Council Recommendation on further measures to reduce gas demand, it said.

“This Recommendation, which would need to be adopted by the Council, encourages Member States to continue to take voluntary measures to maintain a collective reduction in gas demand of 15% compared to average demand over the period April 2017 to March 2022. The proposal will be discussed by Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and EU energy ministers at the Energy Council meeting on Monday, March 4,” we read further.

The gas market has stabilized

As the Commission has pointed out, thanks to the wide range of emergency measures introduced since the Russian invasion of Ukraine EU energy prospects have improved: supplies are more diversified, more renewable energy capacity has been installed and impressive energy savings have been achieved, and gas storage is now healthier.

“This has helped to reduce and stabilize prices across Europe. However, given continuing geopolitical tensions, shrinking global gas markets and the EU’s goal of completely eliminating Russian fossil fuels, further energy savings are still necessary. Further gas savings will help maintain and improve current market stability, including by facilitating the refilling of gas storage in spring and summer. They will also support EU efforts to decarbonization” – indicated in the material.

The recommendation is based on the findings of the review report of the Gas Demand Reduction Regulation and the second report on the EU Gas Storage Regulation. In addition to guaranteeing security of supply, both measures contributed to stabilizing energy prices, benefiting the competitiveness of the EU economy and reducing bills for citizens at the peaks recorded in August 2022 after the Russian invasion, it also stressed.

REPowerEU package

As part of the response to the security of supply threats posed by Russia’s weaponization of fossil fuel exports, in June 2022 the EU introduced regulation on gas storageand in August 2022 –regulation on reducing the demand for gas. Both instruments are key elements REPowerEU – the EU’s plan to eliminate Russian fossil fuels through accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources, stronger energy efficiency measures and diversification of energy supplies.

The gas storage regulation obliges Member States to fill underground gas storage facilities to 90%. capacity by 1 November 2023 to prepare for the winter season. The EU already achieved this target in August, and by November stocks were at 99%.

The Gas Demand Reduction Regulation obliges Member States to coordinately reduce their gas demand by 15%, with the target becoming mandatory if the Council declares an EU state of alert following a Commission proposal. Between August 2022 and December 2023, the EU more than achieved its target, maintaining an 18% decline. As an emergency piece of legislation, the Gas Demand Reduction Regulation was extended last March until the end of March 2024.



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