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The French government will further restrict store and commercial real estate lighting usage and fine offenders as part of a new set of measures aimed at saving energy.
France and all other European countries are looking to curb energy and gas use after last year’s energy crisis and the skyrocketing prices of electricity and natural gas following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In newly-announced measures this week, France will further restrict the hours during which shop windows and commercial real estate can be lit, Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher told L'Alsace newspaper this week.
Businesses that violate the new rules could face fines of $1,593 (1,500 euros), the minister said.
To encourage smart energy use and higher bicycle use for work commutes, France is also subsidizing up to 80% of the price of smart digital thermostats for homes and introducing tax breaks for businesses that encourage employees to cycle to work.
France has already seen a 12% decline in electricity and natural gas use compared to the levels from before the energy crisis, the minister said, adding that she hopes the lower energy use could become structural.
Europe is currently in a much better position ahead of this winter compared to this time last year, with nearly full gas storage sites well ahead of the November 1 deadline, more LNG imports, and more LNG import terminals.
However, a colder-than-usual winter could strain energy supply again. Last winter was mild and it remains to be seen how Europe would handle a cold winter without Russian gas.
In Germany, Europe’s biggest economy ahead of France, gas supply disruptions continue to be a risk, the chief executive of Germany’s biggest utility, RWE, said earlier this month.
“We don't have any buffer in the gas system,” RWE’s chief executive officer Markus Krebber told German publication WirtschaftsWoche in early October, adding that Europe’s biggest economy must accelerate the construction of gas import infrastructure to avoid future shortages.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com