The IEA warned of a Gas Shortage in the EU in 2023
The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Monday that Europe faces a significant gas shortage in 2023 of 27 to 60 billion cubic meters of gas and recommended measures to deal with it.
According to an analysis by the agency presented to the European Commission on Monday, if Russia completely stops gas supplies to Europe, the winter is cold and the quantities of liquefied gas are limited, the EU will face a serious challenge.
The director of the agency, which is an independent body of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is a member of the most developed economies in the world (Bulgaria is not a member), Fatih Birol, said that this winter does not pose a risk because of the stocks in the underground storages, the agreed supplies of liquefied gas and milder weather, but for the next winter, the EU will have to do more to be energy secure.
IEA suggests that the work should be urgently focused on improving energy efficiency, especially the renovation of buildings and the installation of LED lighting, faster installation of renewable energy capacities, replacement of heating installations with heat pumps and a change in consumer behavior.
Birol said that currently the average temperature maintained in buildings in Europe in winter is 23 degrees Celsius, and if it was lowered by just one degree, it could save 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Birol called for better information campaigns to encourage consumers to use less energy.
Total gas consumption in the EU was 412 billion cubic meters in 2021, according to EU data.
"This is a serious challenge," Birol said, adding that the shortfall would be around 60 billion cubic meters without the EU's emergency response measures.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said gas supplies to the EU were "secured for this winter" and the 27 EU countries were preparing for the next one.
"The reduction of Russian supplies by 80% compared to last September had an unprecedented effect on world markets and severe consequences for the European energy system, but we were able to withstand the blackmail," Von der Leyen said after a meeting with the IEA director in Brussels on Monday.
She pointed out that in 2022 the EU has doubled the production of clean energy and launched four interconnectors, including the Bulgarian-Greek one, and that it is working on increasing financing for energy projects, including by creating a sovereign fund, similar to the fund to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Commission has proposed a number of measures, including mandatory gas stockpiling, diversification of supplies, gas saving, more solar and wind plants, but some of them as a platform for common gas purchases, limiting the price of transactions, mutual assistance measures between countries, all they have not yet been accepted by the energy ministers, who have been discussing them since the end of August.
The main problem is what the gas price ceiling should look like and which transactions it should cover. EU energy ministers are meeting on Tuesday for the sixth time since the start of the war to try to agree on a price adjustment mechanism.
Although Russia has cut gas supplies this year, Europe has averted a severe shortage and started the winter with overflowing gas storage tanks - thanks in part to emergency EU measures to fill storage, mild weather and high gas prices that dampened demand.
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