In early August, Europe ushered in a new wave of heat waves. Under the high temperature, the problem of energy shortage in many countries has become more prominent. To meet the challenge, many European countries have launched energy-saving measures.
Energy Saving Plan
French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced that various departments will formulate “energy conservation plans” this summer to deal with the problem of power shortages. French Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Lunachet announced some preemptive measures through the media, including “opening the air-conditioning door” in stores, encouraging large retailers to reduce light intensity, stop ventilation at night, and comply with indoor temperature requirements etc. regulations. The French government also stipulated that from 1:00 am to 6:00 am, the use of billboard lighting in public places other than stations and airports is prohibited. Parnier-Lunachet said that France’s goal is to achieve a 10% reduction in energy consumption compared to 2019 within the next two years.
At the same time, Berlin, Germany has begun to turn off the night lighting of some buildings, Hannover announced the shutdown of hot water supply in all public buildings, and Augsburg has also closed public fountains. The Spanish government requires companies, restaurants, museums and other places to strictly abide by the indoor temperature requirements. The air-conditioning temperature in summer must not be lower than 27 degrees celsius, and the air-conditioning temperature in winter must not be higher than 19 degrees celsius. The lighting of shop windows must be turned off after 22:00. Violators will face minimum fine of 60,000 euros. Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries have also begun to implement similar energy-saving measures.
Reduce Energy Consumption
The French “Le Figaro” analyzed that extreme weather and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have led to rising electricity prices in many European countries, and the risk of “electricity shortage” this winter has increased. Taking France as an example, several weeks of dry and high temperature weather have caused the water temperature of many rivers to increase, limiting the cooling capacity of nuclear power plants. Coupled with the fact that many nuclear power plants under EDF are under maintenance, the power generation has decreased compared with previous years. The wholesale price of electricity in the fourth quarter has reached 10 times the normal period.
Previously, France’s three major energy companies – Total Energy, EDF, and Angie Group have jointly called on the public to reduce energy consumption to avoid energy shortages or skyrocketing energy prices this winter. In response to the call to save energy, a number of large supermarkets including Carrefour and Auchan jointly issued a statement to reduce electricity and natural gas consumption from October 15. The main methods include turning off the lighting signs when the supermarket close, halving the lighting in the sales area during stocking, and adjusting the indoor temperature. Under the new energy-saving regulations, public facilities such as shopping malls and shops in France must comply with the “open air-conditioning door” rule or face a fine of up to 750 euros.
Many Europeans have also begun to adopt the power-saving suggestions given by power companies and popular tips on the Internet, such as reducing the use of household appliances that consume a lot of electricity, using the residual temperature of electric stoves and ovens as much as possible, and turning off electrical appliances completely to avoid standby electricity, make full use of solar energy, etc.
New Europe Energy Landscape
With the sharp reduction of Russian gas supply, Germany, Austria, Greece, the Netherlands and other European countries have announced that they will reopen coal power plants or take measures to support coal power. Tim McPhee, spokesman for the European Commission for climate action and energy, recently acknowledged that due to new changes in the European energy landscape, the energy structure and related plans of EU member states will adjust, including the restart of some coal production capacity.
In response to energy shortages, EU member states have reached an agreement to reduce natural gas demand by 15% from the average consumption over the past five years between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023, according to measures of their choice. %. The European Council also emphasized that countries should give priority to ensuring the gas demand of households, basic social service facilities, key institutions, medical institutions and defense facilities when formulating solar-saving measures.
Member states can encourage power generation companies to switch power generation methods, arouse public awareness of solar terms, adjust heating and cooling indicators or adopt other market-oriented methods to reduce natural gas consumption. European Commissioner Kadri Simsson, responsible for energy, said proactively reducing gas demand could avoid hasty or unilateral decisions when it was too late. This will help achieve energy conservation goals in the most efficient way, with minimal impact on people and businesses.