The European Council adopted a regulation that extends the member states’ voluntary 15% gas demand reduction target, for one year. The regulation maintains the possibility for the Council to trigger a ‘Union alert’ on security of supply, in which case the gas demand reduction would become mandatory.
I am glad that the Council proceeded to swiftly adopting this regulation. Gas savings are crucial for the EU to reach its gas storage goals and be prepared ahead of next winter.
Ebba Busch, Swedish Minister for energy, business and industry
The new regulation sets a voluntary target for member states to reduce their natural gas consumption by 15% between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024, compared to their average consumption in the period between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2022. Member states can choose the measures by which they want to reach the target.
The new regulation modifies reporting rules for member states. Member states will keep reporting data on the savings achieved, at least every two months, with the possibility of submitting the reports earlier. If a Union alert was declared, they would report the data every month. Member states may, if they wish so, report the breakdown of energy consumption per sector.
The regulation includes a new provision to address a specific issue of an increased consumption of gas in a member state due to a coal-to-gas switch used for district heating, in determining the reference gas consumption.
The flexibilities foreseen for EU countries to meet the voluntary reduction target remain unchanged.