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Berlin, Germany's capital, and other cities have started turning off the spotlights on historic monuments and municipal buildings in an effort to conserve energy ahead of winter.
"In view of the war against Ukraine and Russia's energy policy threats, it is important that we use our energy as carefully as possible," Berlin's environment senator, Bettina Jarasch said, as quoted by Insider.
Munich is also starting to turn off its spotlights, while Hanover has gone a big step further, turning off the hot water in all public buildings to conserve energy.
"The situation is unpredictable," according to the mayor of the city.
The conservation push comes as the European Union approved a plan proposed by the Commission to reduce gas consumption across the bloc by 15 percent between August and March next year to avoid the worst fallout of a potential Russian decision to turn off all the gas taps for Europe in retaliation for sanctions.
The agreement comes after days of intense discussions, after the European Commission proposed last week a 15-percent voluntary consumption cut, to be made mandatory in case of a gas supply emergency.
A dozen EU members, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Denmark, spoke out against mandatory gas consumption cuts, with Spain's ecological transition minister, Teresa Ribera, saying last week, "Unlike other countries, the Spanish population has not lived above our means from an energy standpoint."
Germany, meanwhile, has appealed for solidarity and has already closed solidarity agreements with a few of its neighbors in a bid to secure some gas supply for the winter in case of cuts.
Meanwhile, Gazprom has cut the flow along Nord Stream 1 to Germany to 20 percent of capacity, citing fresh turbine maintenance problems as it awaits the return of a turbine that was sent for maintenance in Canada earlier this year.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com