As Europeans brace for gas shortages triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has reiterated her call for consumers to save energy.
If people across the European Union reduce their heating temperatures by just 2C, and raise the temperature on their air conditioning by 2C, this would save energy equal to all the gas delivered by the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia, she said.
“So there is a lot of potential in that,” von der Leyen said after an EU summit in Brussels.
Energy sources must be diversified and investments in renewables are needed, she added.
Europe’s energy supply is at ever greater risk as Russia chokes off gas supplies in response to sanctions imposed due to its war on neighbouring Ukraine.
Many countries in Europe are heavily dependent on Russian energy and Russia has already halted deliveries completely to 12 EU member countries, von der Leyen said.
“The best is always to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. And that is exactly what we are doing now,” von der Leyen said, saying the process had begun earlier this year.
Her agency has reviewed all countries’ contingency plans to ensure all are prepared for further supply restrictions, von der Leyen said.
It is working with industry and the 27 EU members on a Europe-wide plan to scale back demand in the case of an emergency.