Simson said the next steps for addressing the European Union's worsening energy crisis are expected to be unveiled on Tuesday next week, and that the bloc will not achieve its climate targets unless energy savings are prioritized.
The European Union’s next steps for addressing the continent’s worsening energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to be unveiled next week, the European commissioner for energy said Tuesday, AP reports.
Many European countries have tightened their belts as energy costs soar. Russia’s state-run energy company has continued its shutdown of a pipeline carrying natural gas to Europe, in what German officials see as a political power play, and the European Commission president says the EU’s electricity market “is no longer operating” amid knock-on effects from the Ukraine war.
An extraordinary meeting of the European Union’s energy ministers will be held in Brussels on Friday to discuss a bloc-wide package of solutions to the power market cost spikes, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson told The Associated Press in an interview.
She said the European Commission expects the package will be adopted next Wednesday, and that a decoupling of gas and energy prices, increase in liquidity for the market and coordinated demand reduction could be expected in it. That could include a temporary capping of the price of gas used to produce electricity, modification of trading rules on energy exchanges and coordinated demand reduction measures like those seen over the summer.
“Right now, in this situation where Russia is using their natural gas supplies as a weapon, we have to take care to secure the supply. And that means that some extraordinary investments are needed,” Simson said when asked about the environmental concerns.
Simson also acknowledged that the global rising cost of gas has pushed some countries to resort to cheaper but more environmentally destructive energy sources.
“We are taking responsibility,” she said. “The biggest step that we are making to not impact the global gas and LNG market is agreeing that we will cut our gas consumption.”
The European Union has a binding commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Natural gas has been promoted as a “bridge fuel” because in power plants it produces less carbon dioxide when burned than coal. But some experts are critical of the move.
“For this winter we have made — and several national governments have made — a set of commitments to reduce energy consumption,” Simson said. “We will not achieve our climate targets unless we will prioritize energy savings.”
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