Europe could be forced to start rationing energy this winter, starting with industrial uses of natural gas, especially if the winter is cold and China’s economy rebounds, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, told the Financial Times in an interview.
“If we have a harsh winter and a long winter and if we do not take [demand side measures] . . . I wouldn’t exclude the rationing of natural gas in Europe, starting from the large industry facilities,” Birol told FT.
The world faces a “much bigger” energy crisis than the one of the 1970s, Birol told German daily Der Spiegel last month.
“Back then it was just about oil,” Birol told the news outlet. “Now we have an oil crisis, a gas crisis and an electricity crisis simultaneously,” said the head of the international agency created after the 1970s shock of the Arab oil embargo.
On Wednesday, Birol called for conserving energy and boosting energy efficiency as a means to cope with the current energy crisis, which is expected to worsen next winter, during an IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Sønderborg, Denmark.
“The oil shocks of the 1970s set in motion major advances in efficiency, and it is utterly essential that efficiency is at the heart of the response to today’s global energy crisis,” the IEA’s head said in a statement.
Denmark’s Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities Dan Jørgensen said:
“By increasing our energy efficiency, we can reduce our dependence of Russian oil and gas completely and move closer to achieving climate neutrality.”
In a report issued to coincide with the conference today, the IEA says that “The cleanest, cheapest, most reliable source of energy is what countries can avoid using, while still providing full energy services for citizens. That is why the IEA refers to energy efficiency as the ‘first fuel’. Without early action on efficiency the energy transition to net zero emissions will be more expensive and much more difficult to achieve.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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