European leaders have been weighing several ways to undermine Vladimir Putin’s efforts to hold the continent hostage over energy amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Russia issued an ultimatum to the European Union (EU) earlier this month and said its Nord Stream 1 pipeline would not resume until sanctions against the country were lifted.
EU leaders joined other nations in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and issued several crippling sanctions against key Kremlin-backed individuals as well as the country itself.
This week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hit out at Moscow and said it was “actively manipulating the gas market”, but insisted the continent would “diversify away from Russian fossil fuels”.
In March, President Joe Biden and von der Leyen announced the creation of a joint task force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and ensure Europe’s energy security.
The race is now on in Europe to alleviate the impending energy crisis that is leading some countries to experience winter blackouts or energy rationing.
According to the International Energy Agency, one of the ways Europe could avoid crippling energy consumption costs would be to double the current global rate of improvement in energy intensity – which means improving the energy efficiency – to 4%.
It could potentially avoid 95 exajoules – a measure of energy – per year of final energy consumption by the end of the decade compared to current rates. The equivalent of such a change would be China’s annual energy consumption and could reduce global CO2 emissions by an additional 5 billion tons per year by 2030.
This would represent one-third of the total emissions education efforts needed in this decade to get the world on the path to net zero emissions by mid-century, as outlined in the Net Zero roadmap that the AIE published in 2021.
These efficiency efforts could save households up to $650 billion a year on their energy bills by the end of the decade.
The amount of natural gas the world would avoid using would be four times what the EU imported from Russia in 2021.
This reduction could create 10 million new jobs in several areas, including the renovation of manufacturing and transport infrastructure buildings.
In an IEA 10-point plan, 10 options have been proposed to avoid the energy crisis in Europe.
First, leaders are encouraged not to sign new gas supply contracts with Russia, as this could give the EU an opportunity to diversify its gas supply and reduce take-or-pay levels for Russian imports.
The IEA is also asking EU leaders to replace Russian supplies with gas from different suppliers, including Norway, which would reduce its reliance on gas from Moscow.
EU leaders have also been urged to introduce minimum gas storage requirements to boost market resilience, although the IEA says higher requirements to fill storage in 2022 would increase gas demand and support the costs.
Refocusing on new wind and solar projects could lead to a reduction in gas consumption of 6 billion cubic meters (bcm).
According to the IEA, maximizing generation from existing low-emission sources, such as nuclear, would reduce gas consumption for electricity by 13 billion cubic meters.
The IEA said short-term measures were needed to protect vulnerable electricity consumers from high prices. It is estimated that this would reduce consumers’ energy bills and make 200 billion euros ($203 billion) available to help vulnerable groups.
By accelerating the replacement of gas boilers with heat pumps, the EU could reduce gas consumption for heating by an additional 2 billion cubic meters in one year.
Accelerating energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industry could reduce gas consumption for heating by an additional 2 billion cubic meters and lower energy bills.
In a more direct appeal to consumers, the IEA asked consumers to lower the thermostat by 1 degree Celsius and claimed that this would reduce gas demand by 10 billion cubic meters per year.
The IEA encouraged EU leaders to step up their diversification and decarbonisation efforts as part of a long-term strategy that would reduce dependence on natural gas and reduce the need for costly peak gas supply.
Danfoss, a global supplier of advanced energy-efficient technologies, has also offered plans that could save Europeans 12 billion euros ($12.18 billion) by retrofitting 500 million radiators that waste energy unnecessarily. ‘energy.
Talk to NewsweekDanfoss Chairman and CEO Kim Fausing said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted reductions in gas and oil consumption, but stressed it could not just be about producing green energy.
He said: “They will also be extremely expensive and more expensive than necessary. We have to build efficiency into them, and we have to commit to them and start investing in them with the same passion as we do.
“Because energy efficiency and renewables go hand in hand. If we do both, we can achieve the goals that are not easy to set, but we can achieve them. It’s doable.”
He said how vital it was for countries to work together and added: “There is so much fruit at hand and attractive steps we can take. But it’s just more intuitively difficult to see. .green energy is good. Instead of messing with your infrastructure, right?
“We have to make this happen if we’re going to achieve the Paris Agreement, the goals, right. And that’s what I hear all the time we do. And the news and clarity are that this will not happen.
“It won’t happen if we don’t increase the efficiency of our system because we have to produce a lot of energy that we actually don’t need and that’s why we have this slogan to say that the The best and greenest energy is the energy we don’t need.”
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