Europe facing the energy crisis as winter approaches


As autumn rolls in and winter approaches, European countries worry about how they will get through the cold months ahead with less energy on hand. The war against Ukraine and Russia, which are limiting supplies, have caused prices to rise sharply. Governments and the public are wondering what action to take and how much daily life will change.


Britain’s climate minister on Friday ruled out a campaign urging the public to use less energy, despite a warning from the National Grid that in the worst-case scenario there could be blackouts.

Local media reported that Prime Minister Liz Truss had blocked a £15m ($16.6m) campaign endorsed by Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg to encourage people to use less energy.

“We’re not sending that as a message,” Climate Minister Stuart told the BBC when asked if the government would encourage people to use less energy.

“We are not a nanny state government,” he told Sky News.

“The last thing you want to do is tell someone, you know, to turn things off for the national need when it makes no difference to the national security position.

In other countries, it is more about reducing overall energy consumption. For us, it’s not so much about that, it’s about reducing demand at peak times,” he explained.

Speaking to LBC radio station, Stuart added: ‘The danger is that if you had some sort of general message of less energy consumption, it’s that the wrong lessons will be taken up by people.’

The UK could face three-hour blackouts this winter in a worst-case scenario, the National Grid warned yesterday.

In an update on Britain’s energy preparation for winter, the national grid electricity system operator said the risks of severe gas shortages were “unlikely” and demand was expected be satisfied.

He also encouraged the country to conserve energy to help prevent blackouts.

The UK generates 40% of its electricity from gas, which was hit by Russia’s war on Ukraine, triggering a global price spike.

The UK government has already announced a multi-billion energy bailout to help households and businesses cope with energy costs.


EU leaders were unable to reach a consensus on gas price caps at an informal summit on Friday in the Czech capital Prague.

Leaders only favored putting in place joint gas supply measures by the end of winter to avoid overbidding the markets.

Ahead of the meeting, von der Leyen offered leaders a “road map” to limit rising energy bills by capping the market price of imported natural gas and reforming the European electricity market.

The leaders discussed a plan on a so-called “corridor for decent prices with reliable partners” on limiting the price of natural gas, as well as another option to “remove spikes and speculation” from broader market prices, she said after the summit.

As part of an overall reform of the EU market, they also discussed the possibilities of curbing or decoupling the price of gas used to generate electricity. This follows the request of 15 EU countries, including Spain, France and Italy.

Under current rules, high gas prices have had an inflationary effect on final electricity bills, which are based on the price of the last and most expensive energy source and do not reflect the lower costs of renewables or nuclear energy.

Von der Leyen promised that the EU executive would present more detailed proposals on the subject in the coming weeks.


France on Thursday unveiled an energy saving plan that aims to reduce the country’s energy consumption by 10% over the next two years.

Apart from reducing energy consumption, the plan also aims to reduce dependence on Russia, secure energy supply and phase out fossil fuels by 2050.

According to the plan, there are 30 steps to reduce the energy consumption of civil servants, including heating public buildings to a maximum of 19C (66.2F), removing the requirement for hot water in toilets , limiting the speed of public service vehicles to 110 kilometers (68.3 miles) per hour and encouraging civil servants to work from home.

When the EcoWatt energy consumption meter gives a red signal, it means that there is a strong consumption-based pressure on the electrical system and power outages are inevitable unless consumption is reduced. When EcoWatt gives this signal, the temperature of public buildings can be reduced to 18C (64.4F).

Local governments have been asked to reduce the temperature by 2 degrees in public gymnasiums and by 1 degree in swimming pools.

Illuminated billboards will be turned off between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time.

While the public is encouraged to limit home heating to 19C (66.2F), use public transport and carpool, an incentive of up to €9,000 ($8,766) will be given for heat pumps in households.

An energy conservation awareness campaign will be launched in the country on October 10.

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