In the week after the government approved emergency measures to save energy, Spain’s electricity consumption fell by 3.7%, despite high temperatures that usually force people to turn on the air conditioners, Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said today .
More than half of the energy savings promised by Spain, as part of a Europe-wide effort to reduce natural gas use, can come from strictly controlling the temperature and turning off the lights in public buildings and shop windows, the minister added. “We will be able to jointly respond to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s energy blackmail,” he continued.
European Union officials accuse Putin of using natural gas flows as a political tool after Russian forces invaded neighboring Ukraine.
Compared to the corresponding week last year and taking into account other factors such as temperature and working conditions during that period, energy consumption decreased by 6%, according to the ministry.
EU countries have agreed to cut natural gas use by 15% and build up reserves, preparing for a possible supply cut from Russia. Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia provided 40% of the EU’s fuel supplies. As it has limited ability to export any surplus natural gas to neighboring countries, Spain agreed to a 7% cut.
Ribera also said that the mechanism put in place in June by Spain and Portugal to temporarily subsidize the production costs of plants running on fossil fuels has had the desired effect and reduced electricity prices. Thanks to this mechanism, consumers whose accounts are linked to the wholesale price or those who have recently renewed their contracts on the open market have saved €1.38 billion over the past two months.