EU announces new actions to conserve energy, reduce reliance on Russian fuel
The European Union (EU) on Thursday released a series of steps and actions citizens can take to reduce energy usage as part of an effort to support to support Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Commission, a branch of the EU, outlined several steps for the average citizen, including walking or biking instead of driving, reducing speeds on highways, working from home and using less air conditioning.
“Using less energy is not only an immediate way for EU citizens to reduce their bills, but it also supports Ukraine by reducing the need for Russian oil and gas, thereby helping to reduce the revenue streams funding the invasion,” the commission said.
The commission said Thursday the efforts “would save enough oil to fill 120 super tankers and enough natural gas to heat almost 20 million homes if adopted by all EU citizens.”
European Commission Director-General Juul Jørgensen said during a Thursday meeting on the energy-saving steps that Europeans should attempt to help Ukrainians in their daily life while saving money and helping the climate.
“What can you and I and everyone individually do immediately to save energy?” she asked. “And there’s a lot we can do that doesn’t have to wait for the time it takes to regulate.”
The Biden administration has banned all imports of Russian oil following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. However, Russia is the single-largest supplier of fuel in European countries.
Jørgensen said in a statement that energy efficiency “has the potential to be the most important policy initiative for reducing our dependence on Russian imports.”
The European Commission and IEA said the simple steps Europeans can take will have a big effect. For example, the agencies said turning the thermostat just 1 degree Celsius would save 7 percent of the energy used for heating.
The commission said Europeans who work from home three days a week would reduce household fuel bills by 35 euros a month.
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, said during Thursday’s meeting that he hopes Europeans will “take the lead here and bring energy efficiency through these measures.”
“Put energy efficiency at the top of the policy agenda when we want to push Russian energy back out of Europe,” Birol added.