Brussels tables 5% mandatory energy savings goal ahead of difficult winter

(EurActiv, 15 Sep 2022) The European Commission on Wednesday (14 September) announced two demand reduction targets for electricity, including a binding reduction goal of 5% at peak consumption times, ahead of a difficult winter caused by dwindling gas supplies from Russia.

“Reducing demand during peak hours will make supply last longer, and it will bring prices down,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her State of the Union speech on Wednesday (14 September).

According to the Commission, reducing power demand at peak times would lead to a saving of 1.2 billion cubic metres of fossil gas over the winter.

The two targets proposed by the Commission are:

  • a non-binding goal for EU countries to reduce overall electricity demand by at least 10% until 31 March 2023.
  • a mandatory reduction of electricity consumption by 5% for at least 10% of high demand hours each week. The EU executive says this would impact around 3-4 hours every weekday.

EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said the second target was made binding so that it is “met by everyone” and reduces Europe’s reliance on expensive gas-fired power plants when electricity demand is highest.

“Let me underline here that reducing our gas in electricity consumption as such is fundamental to the success of any measure to tackle this energy crisis. Demand reduction helps rebalance the energy market, lower energy bills, reduces emissions and makes us immune to Russia’s gas games,” he said.

“Without demand reduction, it’s not going to work,” he warned.

The electricity demand reduction objectives follow in the footsteps of the gas demand reduction targets that EU member states adopted in July, ahead of the winter heating season.

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EurActiv, 15 Sep 2022: Brussels tables 5% mandatory energy savings goal ahead of difficult winter