Europe must rely on mild weather to stockpile enough fuel and avoid winter fuel shortages which could further exacerbate the continent’s ongoing energy and economic crises, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Countries in the European Union (EU) are rationing fuel supplies and urging their citizens to cut consumption as Russia continues to cut off natural gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline; however, the success of their efforts will be ultimately determined by the harshness of winter weather, the WSJ reported. Although some forecasts suggest that winter weather could be relatively mild, an extremely cold winter would hike energy demand and would threaten European countries’ natural gas stockpiles. (RELATED: The West’s Scheme To Slash Russian Oil Profits Could End Up Backfiring)
Mild winter conditions could allow Europe’s current gas storage sufficient to meet energy demand without severely restricting consumption, according to the WSJ. Germany, the EU’s most powerful member, is already calling on its citizens to take cold showers and is turning off the lights in public areas to save natural gas, its main source of fuel, according to The Guardian.
The EU is close to meeting its natural gas storage targets as countries’ stockpiles were 79.94% full on Aug. 31, meaning that most countries are likely to fill their storage to at least 80% by November, according to Reuters. However, a full gas stockpile, which would normally be sufficient to last the entire winter, is only likely to last countries three months due to the lack of Russian gas deliveries.
Electricity prices across Europe are currently spiking due to natural gas shortages and citizens are struggling to pay their energy bills, according to Bloomberg. The EU is urging its member-states to impose windfall taxes on energy companies’ revenues to address “astronomic” energy bills, according to the Financial Times.
Heat waves are also hiking energy demand meaning that countries are finding it more difficult to stockpile fuel in time for the winter, according to the WSJ. Fuel shortages are making it difficult for EU countries to power their economies and cool homes during the summer even when energy demand is lower than it is in winter, according to the WSJ.
Russia completely shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the main source of European natural gas, on Monday, stating that the gas cutoff was caused by sanctions imposed by the EU. The EU is heavily reliant on Russian natural gas and imported 155 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2021, accounting for around 45% of EU gas imports and close to 40% of its total gas consumption, according to the International Energy Agency.
The weather will also determine the levels of sunlight, wind and rainfall which would affect the power output of solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric power and other forms of green energy, according to the WSJ. Green energy accounted for 22.1% of Europe’s energy mix in 2020, according to EU statistics.
The European Commission did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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