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The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday measures for the EU to conserve gas in the face of risks of further reduction or a shutoff of Russian gas deliveries, asking member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% until the spring.
The Commission proposed today a new legislative tool and a European Gas Demand Reduction Plan, setting a target for all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023.
The new regulation would also give the Commission the possibility to declare, after consulting Member States, a 'Union Alert' on the security of supply, imposing a mandatory gas demand reduction on all Member States, the EC said.
A Union Alert "can be triggered when there is a substantial risk of a severe gas shortage or an exceptionally high gas demand," according to the Commission's plans.
"Member States should update their national emergency plans by the end of September to show how they intend to meet the reduction target, and should report to the Commission on progress every two months. Member States requesting solidarity gas supplies will be required to demonstrate the measures they have taken to reduce demand domestically," the EU's executive arm said on Wednesday.
"All consumers, public administrations, households, owners of public buildings, power suppliers and industry can and should take measures to save gas. The Commission will also accelerate work on supply diversification, including joint purchasing of gas to strengthen the EU's possibility of sourcing alternative gas deliveries," it added.
The EU must save gas in the summer to have gas in the winter, the Commission said in its 'Save Gas for a Safe Winter' communication, also urging EU member states to switch to other fuels—renewables where possible—in order to conserve gas now. However, coal and nuclear could also be an option in the short term, the Commission says.
The European Union is bracing for the possibility that Russia may not resume natural gas deliveries to Europe via Nord Stream as planned—right after the regular maintenance on the pipeline ends on July 21.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.