How demand-side measures can ensure energy security in the EU

(EurActiv, 6 May 2022) The EU can coordinate the efforts of member states in order to prepare for a ban on Russian gas and oil imports, write Jonathan Barth and Christoph Gran.

Jonathan Barth is the co-director of the ZOE Institute for Future-fit Economies. Christoph Gran is a partner at ZOE.

The European Union’s over-reliance on Russian fossil fuels and the instability in the global energy markets is exposing the bloc to energy vulnerability and higher inflation. This vulnerability is further intensified due to factors such as dependence on energy-intensive industries and an overall slow transition towards clean and renewable energy sources.

In the wake of the war in Ukraine, which has exacerbated energy price inflation, the European Commission announced the REPowerEU initiative. The plan aims at diversification of supply and improvements in energy infrastructure, with the additional short-term objective of keeping prices under control.

The Commission’s plan focuses on changing energy sources or boosting energy efficiency and shifting to renewable energy technologies. It however misses using the potential of demand-side measures leading to energy savings.

These instruments can help to cope with energy shortages in the short to mid-term, mitigate further price increases and reduce the reliance on oil and gas imports.

At ZOE Institute for Future-fit Economies, we have explored how the Commission can incorporate demand-side measures into REPowerEU. We demonstrate what energy-saving measures can be effective in mitigating rising energy prices and social impacts.

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EurActiv, 6 May 2022: How demand-side measures can ensure energy security in the EU