Gas prices: keep calm and renovate buildings

(EurActiv, 26 Oct 2021) There will be no quick fix to Europe’s costly dependence on gas imports. But leaders do have the power to put in place lasting renovation solutions to cut consumer bills and deliver our climate commitments, writes Brook Riley.

The perverse law of gas prices seems to be that what comes down must go up. In 2019-2020, gas prices fell in 21 out of the 24 EU member states which report on price trends.

Now they are at record highs across Europe, to the point that the UK energy minister felt obliged to deny there could be energy rationing and a return to the three-day working week. She might as well have told people not to think of elephants.

Meanwhile, gas prices are being discussed by EU energy ministers today and made it onto the agenda of last week’s European Council. But in the scramble for solutions, there is too much focus on supply, combined with worrying signs that climate commitments are expendable.

Three weeks away from the climate talks in Glasgow, high gas prices are prompting a switch to oil in the UK, and rising coal use in Germany. The lesson from the 2014 gas crisis and all the energy crises before that is apparently being forgotten: the cheapest, cleanest and safest energy is the stuff we don’t use.

New analysis from Cambridge Econometrics, a go-to consultancy for the European Commission, comes as a timely reminder.

External link

EurActiv, 26 Oct 2021: Gas prices: keep calm and renovate buildings