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Europe preparing for natural gas rationing, signals shift back to coal ahead of 2022/23 winter season

belgrade protest july 2020 by djordje kostic

As the energy crisis in Europe continues deepening, the EU countries that depend on Russian gas have signaled a shift back to coal and started triggering emergency plans that could lead to natural gas rationing ahead of the 2022/23 winter season.

As much of western Europe struggled with a severe heatwave and increased natural gas consumption as a result, Russian energy giant Gazprom has cut natural gas supplies via Nord Stream pipeline by 40%. The company said their decision was made due to technical issues caused by Germany’s Siemens failure to return gas compressor units after they were sent for repair.

Nord Stream is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, supplying Germany – and the rest of Europe – with natural gas from Russia. In June 2017, Germany, France, Austria and the European Commission criticized the United States Senate over new sanctions against Russia targeting the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, stating that the United States was threatening Europe’s energy supplies.1

While EU leaders said the Russian move to cut back gas flow to Europe was politically motivated, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeated that the reason is purely technical.

As a result, the Netherlands and Denmark announced they are working on emergency plans to deal with disruptions.

The Netherlands said this week it would activate the ‘early warning’ phase of an energy crisis plan and lifted a cap on production by coal-fired power plants.2

Energy officials in Denmark’s said that if the situation escalates, natural gas would be rationed and limited to some industrial users so consumers could have winter heating.3

Germany and Austria have already triggered emergency plans that could lead to gas rationing.

Additionally, Germany has also lifted caps on coal energy production while Austria, which shut its last coal power plant in 2022, said it’s converting a gas power plant to run on coal.4

Italy said they are considering declaring a state of alert on energy, which would allow them to start rationing gas to industrial users.

Similar decisions are expected to be made in other European countries before the winter season. This could lead to continued economic destruction and pave the way for serious social unrest.

To conclude, the European Union continues deteriorating and the population is now increasingly aware that this energy crisis will ultimately end up on their shoulders and seriously destabilize the union.

With the summer now in full effect, those aware of the situation are urging residents to prepare for the coming winter as one of the worst since WW2.

References:

1 Nord Stream – Wikipedia – Accessed June 22, 2022

2 UPDATE 2-Netherlands activates energy crisis plan, removes cap on coal plants – Reuters – June 20, 2022

3 The Danish Energy Agency declares “Early Warning” – ENS – June 20, 2022

4 Europe is drawing up emergency plans to switch back to coal after Russia cuts natural-gas supplies – Business Insider – July 21, 2022

Featured image credit: Djordje Kostic

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