The Irish government is scrambling to reduce gas consumption this winter as the EU plans emergency energy market intervention

The Irish government is preparing a plan to reduce gas consumption this winter, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan will tell TDs and Senators today.

It comes as the European Commission prepares to intervene in the bloc’s energy market to deal with soaring prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU recently asked Ireland to reduce its gas consumption by 15 per cent and draw up a gas demand reduction plan.

While the state doesn’t have to meet the 15 percent target, officials are working on a plan to reduce gas use.

The climate minister will appear before the Dáil’s climate committee today to discuss energy security.

“The European Council recently agreed a regulation to cut gas demand by 15 percent this winter,” Ryan will tell TDs and Senators.

“This regulation obliges all member states to draw up a demand reduction plan. As Ireland is not directly linked to any other Member State, it does not have to meet the mandatory reduction target of this Regulation.

“Preparations to implement the voluntary demand reduction plan are underway.”

Mr Ryan will also blame the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the cost of natural gas being 10 times what it was two years ago.

“Gas supplies from Russia to Europe have fallen sharply over the past year and continue to give cause for concern for Europe’s energy security,” he will say in his opening speech.

“This has resulted in natural gas prices about 10 times what they were two years ago.”

Officials from his department are also currently conducting a review of the country’s gas and electricity security amid concerns about power outages this winter.

The review will also consider ways to reduce the risk to the state’s power supply.

“This review considers potential risks to both our natural gas and electricity supplies and examines a range of actions to mitigate those risks.

“My department has received the final technical analysis to inform the review and I expect a consultation will be initiated in the coming weeks.”

The government has in recent weeks tasked former Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Taoiseach Dermot McCarthy with investigating what has prompted concerns that demand could at times exceed supply this winter.

Meanwhile, the European Union is preparing to step into its energy market and intervene in the short term to cushion rising electricity costs as the continent prepares for the economic impact of this winter’s energy shortages.

The EU wants to limit prices in the short term and then decouple gas and electricity costs in the longer term, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Although she gave no details, the direction of travel underscores the sense of panic in European capitals.

“In the next few days and weeks we have to develop an instrument that ensures that the gas price no longer dominates the electricity price,” she said on Monday evening at a performance in Berlin with Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck.

The unprecedented surge in electricity prices, which have risen nearly 10-fold over the past year, has fueled inflation and dramatically increased the economic burden on businesses and households recovering from the pandemic. Politicians are now mulling the prospect of Moscow cutting off gas and forcing European industries to shut down in a bid to weaken the continent’s support for Ukraine.

European policymakers are stepping up the pace as they prepare for winter. They are already rushing to replenish gas storage facilities and these efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Gas reserves in the EU were 79.4 percent full on August 27 and are already approaching the target of 80 percent by November 1.

Additional reporting by agencies The Irish government is scrambling to reduce gas consumption this winter as the EU plans emergency energy market intervention

Fry Electronics Team

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