EUAs posted a 4.8% weekly gain as prices climbed to another six-week high on Friday, 12.08.2022 and had a maximum of 90.71 euro/tCO2 at the end of trade day on ICE ECX on Monday, 15.08.2022 with traders suggesting the market is detached from fundamentals, while natural gas was weaker as countries continued to look for ways to trim demand for the fuel this winter.
European Energy and Gas Market
The European Commission, to protect itself against further supply cuts from Russia, announced on 20.07.2022 a plan to reduce gas demand and required member states to implement immediately, between August 2022 and March 2023, a voluntary 15% reduction in demand compared to the average of the last five years and to have storage facilities filled to at least 80% by November 1st. After a heated week-long discussion, member states agreed to the commitment, which will still entail major efforts.
The first immediate step to filling gas storage to the levels demanded by the Commission before winter is to reduce Europe’s current gas consumption. In part this is already happening because of skyrocketing gas prices, but much more is needed: according to the IEA, savings should be in the order of 12 billion cubic meters in the next three months. The IEA and the European Commission have been addressing the energy crisis since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine.
The International Energy Agency proposes measures for the EU Member States
The message is clear: with timely and sustained action, it is possible to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas imports, and to do so in an orderly manner consistent with the Union’s climate ambitions. Against this backdrop, and following the Commission’s recent call to cut gas consumption and replenish storage, comes a new IEA plan with five concrete actions for European leaders to take immediately for a more coordinated approach to prepare for the coming winter.
- The first action involves introducing auction platforms to incentivize European industrial gas users to reduce demand. Industrial gas consumers can offer a portion of their supply for compensation, which can lead to greater efficiency and competitiveness. Similar auction models have been developed in Germany and proposed in the Netherlands.
- Energy conservation is the second point. This involves minimizing the use of gas in the power sector, temporarily increasing coal- and oil-fired generation, and accelerating the deployment of low-carbon sources, including nuclear power, which by the way was officially included in the European Green Taxonomy, with the final vote in the European Parliament on July 6.
- The IEA is moving forward with the other three measures: improving coordination between gas and electricity operators in Europe, especially to manage storage; reducing household demand for electricity by setting standards; and finally, harmonizing national and European contingency plans for supply reduction measures and solidarity mechanisms.
National Measures accepted by the EU
In the end, it depends on the Member States if and how they will succeed in implementing these measures to reduce their dependence on gas imports from Russia. But if the IEA and the Commission think policies that suit everyone because this is their role, the powerful states in the EU, such as Germany and France, implement their own measures, such as the reactivation of coal mines or the increase of nuclear energy capacity.
Germany’s decision to delay the retirement of coal plants scheduled to close and re-activate reserve capacity could push EU power sector emissions 5% on 2023 and 2024 higher over the next two years, according to a modeled report from analysts as published by Carbon Pulse. And France has announced a “renaissance” for the French nuclear industry with a vast programme to build as many as 14 new reactors.
In this context, Romania should not only implement the central EU policies, but a redefinition of the national energy strategy, starting from the varied resources of our country (biomass, coal, waste, etc.), is desirable if pursues the good of the Romanians.
Source: The International Energy Agency, the European Commission, Aither Group, Carbon Pulse, ICE ECX.