Europe encouraged to ration gas ahead of winter, ‘prepare’ for what may be coming

Jack McEvoy, DCNF

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling for widespread energy rationing across Europe due to the continent’s ongoing fuel crisis the agency predicts will be exacerbated by the coming winter months.

Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, warned of an approaching energy catastrophe in Europe in a commentary piece released on Monday. Birol implored the European Union to reduce energy demand from households and businesses alike to prevent an energy crisis even if gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline resume at the same levels that preceded its shutdown.

Birol advocated for lowering household electricity demand by “setting cooling standards and controls,” stating that government and public buildings should take part in this to set an example to consumers. In his article, he also told governments in the EU to “encourage behavioral changes” among their citizens to reduce energy consumption.

“European governments need to prepare the people of Europe for what may be coming,” Birol stated.

“Public awareness campaigns in the context of an energy crisis have been successful previously in reducing short-term energy demand by several percent,” he said.

The IEA director encouraged unified emergency planning across the EU to properly manage supply cutbacks, emphasizing the need for a coordinated effort to ration energy. Without such drastic measures, Birol said that Europe will be in an incredibly vulnerable position and may face further energy curtailments in the future.

As uncertainty continues to surround Russian gas flows, Birol urged Europe to diversify its energy sources and ration energy to build up its stockpiles.

However, even with gas storage at 90%, the European Union will face a severe risk of supply disruptions if Russia shuts off its gas imports, according to IEA’s analysis. Europe’s gas storages were also below 5% in March, the month of most recent data, according to data provided in Birol’s article.

Birol’s comments come amid the staggering fuel costs, stagnating wages and soaring inflation that are placing severe strains on populations all over Europe.

“The whole EU stands to suffer if any single economy enters into a sharp and long-lasting recession” should European gas supplies be jeopardized, German insurer Allianz SE warned in a May report.

French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Union last Thursday to “prepare for a scenario where we have to switch entirely from Russian gas.”

On Monday, the EU struck a deal with Azerbaijan to increase the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor, a network of pipelines that transports gas from the Caspian Sea, as it scrambles to find alternatives to Russian gas, according to the WSJ. Italy also signed an agreement with Algeria to increase the amount of Algerian gas flowing into Italy by almost 20%.

The IEA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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