European Commission: – “We don’t have to freeze this winter”

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The gas storage facilities in the EU are currently 86 percent full. In Austria it is 75 percent, said the head of the representation of the EU commission in Austria, Martin Selmayr. He was convinced that “if we show solidarity and are frugal, we won’t have to freeze this winter.”

He said that on Thursday at the “Austrian Energy Congress 2022” in Vienna. At the same time, he pointed out that next winter and the winter after that had to be taken into account. In any case, it is important to exchange ideas about the boundaries when gas becomes scarce. “Austria is the textbook example of a network economy, where Austria works closely with the rest of Europe in the west and east. Going national alone would certainly be fatal.”

80 percent gas from Russia earlier
According to Selmayr, natural gas accounts for 25 to 30 percent of the European energy mix. Before the start of the war in Ukraine, about 40 to 45 percent of them were from Russia. In Austria, the share of gas in the various forms of energy is slightly lower than the European average (22.7 percent). However, the country received significantly more natural gas from Russia, before the start of the war this was still 80 percent from Russia.

Nine years to new wind power plant
Today, the EU only imports about a tenth of the gas it needs from Russia, Selmayr said. Initiatives to reduce gas demand and accelerate the expansion of renewables would work. With regard to renewable energy sources, it is again necessary to speed up the approval process. At present, it takes more than nine years to build a wind power plant and four years to build a solar power plant. “We suggest reducing that to six to 12 months.”

It is also “extremely important” to conserve energy. “I am pleased that the Austrian government is conducting a strong campaign.” If thermostats across Europe were turned down one degree Celsius, ten billion cubic meters of natural gas could be saved. That is more than Austria’s annual gas requirement.

Finally, regarding prices, Selmayr said, “We need another benchmark. That would also be a pretty quick and intelligent measure that would reduce the use of natural gas as Putin’s weapon.” So far, the most expensive power plant has set the price, which currently mainly reflects the cost of pipeline gas.

Source: Krone

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