European nations collectively diminished their fuel consumption by 20.1% in comparison with the typical of the identical months between 2017 and 2021, in response to figures launched on Tuesday (20 December) by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics physique.
The figures will probably be an encouragement for EU nations, which have sought to slash their fuel consumption and enhance power financial savings amid falling fuel provides from Russia within the wake of the Ukraine conflict.
In addition they coincide with a heat Autumn, which delayed the beginning of the winter heating season.
In response to the power disaster and growing cut-offs of Russian fuel flows, EU capitals signed up in July to a voluntary goal to lower fuel consumption.
The purpose is to cut back fuel use by 15% between August 2022 and March 2023 in comparison with the final 5 years – a goal that may very well be made obligatory in case of emergency.
“Saving fuel now will enhance preparedness. The winter will probably be less expensive and simpler for EU’s residents and trade,” mentioned Jozef Síkela the Czech commerce minister who was answerable for discovering a deal on the legislation in July.
“Adopting the fuel discount proposal in report time has undoubtedly strengthened our frequent power safety,” he added again then.
Initially of the yr, Russia was supplying the EU with nearly half of its fuel. Over the course of 2022, that has dropped to below 10%, main the EU to seek for new suppliers and slash its consumption.
Power financial savings are obligatory not solely to stop curtailments this yr, but in addition to make sure fuel storage could be refilled forward of subsequent yr’s winter season, which is anticipated to be a lot tougher as a result of low or non-existent provides from Russia.
The Worldwide Power Company has already warned that, whereas Europe will make it by this winter, it might face shortfalls if Russia cuts fuel provides additional.
Governments have to act quicker to avoid wasting power and increase renewables, the company says.
In response to Eurostat, 18 EU nations have reduce their fuel consumption by greater than 15%. Consumption fell most in Finland, the place it was greater than halved. Latvia additionally reduce its consumption by 43.2% whereas Lithuania reduce it by 41.6%.
Nonetheless, six EU nations haven’t but reached a 15% discount in fuel consumption and a few have even seen a rise, notably in Malta (+7.1%) and Slovakia (+2.6%).
The opposite nations but to achieve a discount of 15% are Eire, Spain, the Czech Republic and Portugal.
Notably, each Spain and Portugal have applied a worth cap on gas-fired electrical energy manufacturing that critics say has pushed up fuel utilization. Shortages in nuclear and hydropower over the summer season attributable to droughts additionally elevated demand for gas-fired energy technology.
In response to Eurostat, the pattern for diminished consumption has been noticed all through 2022, with fuel use constantly decrease than the 2017-2021 common.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]