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The German government has adopted a series of energy-saving regulations for the winter that will restrict lights and heating in public structures.
The government hopes to cut gas consumption by 2% through the new regulations.
The German economy minister claimed that over two years, the regulations could save private consumers, businesses, and the public sector some €10.8 billion (£9.1 billion).
It is a part of efforts to lessen the nation’s reliance on Russian gas.
Germany used to buy 55% of its gas from Russia before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it has since cut this to 35% and threatened to stop imports.
Nevertheless, Ukraine remains a big market for Moscow, which spent about €9 billion (£7.7 billion; $9.6 billion) on Russian oil and gas in the first two months of the conflict.
Russia has also reduced gas shipments via the crucial Nordstream 1 pipeline to 20% of capacity, prompting concerns that it may turn off the taps this winter.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters that his nation wanted to break “as rapidly as possible free from the hold of Russian energy imports.”
Public places in Germany to reduce energy usage
Starting in September, public buildings—aside from institutions like hospitals—must be heated to a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius. The heating can be turned off entirely in entranceways, hallways, and foyers.
Additionally, companies might be prohibited from having their stores lit up at night, and public monuments and buildings won’t be lit up for aesthetic reasons.
It might also be prohibited to heat private swimming pools. Additionally, the nation will give railroad passenger traffic a lower priority than coal and oil freight, which will result in delays for travelers.
Increasing storage capacity Germany also intends to launch public relations initiatives to inform people of ways to reduce their own use.
In addition, the nation is building two LNG facilities on the North Sea coast to increase storage amid worries about winter shortages.
Although this will become required if there are significant shortages, the majority of European Union members have voluntarily agreed to cut their gas consumption by 15% this winter. In the meantime, in an effort to conserve energy, Spain has already established regulations limiting air conditioning and heating temperatures in large commercial and public buildings.
According to Switzerland’s energy minister on Wednesday, the EU’s plan would “definitely make sense” if the nation wanted to avoid an energy catastrophe.
In case of blackouts brought on by changes in Russian supply, the electricity authority of Switzerland has also advised that households stock up on candles.
The decision to reduce the heating in public buildings was announced earlier this month by Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland’s energy minister.