By SAMUEL PETREQUIN – Associated Press
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s chief executive said Friday that the bloc’s electricity market “has broken down” amid war in Ukraine and proposed a Russian gas pipeline price cap. .
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine as the root of the energy crisis and the dramatic rise in gas and electricity prices .
She said Europe’s priority was to save energy as reserves are scarce, although the 27-nation bloc has already met its target of filling gas storage to 80% capacity before the winter months. The target date was November 1.
“We imagined it would take two more months,” she said in a speech in the German town of Murnau. “We have worked hard to end our dependence on Russian gas, instead turning to other suppliers. As a result, Norway now delivers more gas to Europe than Russia. considerable volumes of liquid gas to Europe.
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Natural gas is used to power industry, heat homes and offices, and generate electricity.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Friday it could not resume natural gas supplies through a major pipeline to Germany just yet because of what it said needed construction works. urgent maintenance. The announcement came just hours before Gazprom resumed deliveries after a three-day shutdown.
Gazprom began cutting supplies through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in mid-June, and Russia has cut gas supplies to several European countries that sided with Ukraine in the war.
“We see that the electricity market no longer works because it is seriously disrupted by Putin’s manipulation,” von der Leyen said ahead of a meeting next week in Brussels of EU energy ministers. The European Commission is also expected to present a set of detailed measures later this month.
To deal with the price crisis, von der Leyen said she strongly believed that “now is the time to cap the prices of Russian pipeline gas exported to Europe” and proposed to decouple electricity from gas price.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed von der Leyen’s proposal and urged European leaders to adopt it.
In his late night address, Zelenskyy said the EU was long overdue in imposing such sanctions, which he said “will not only limit the flow of gas petrodollars and euros to Moscow, but also, and above all, will restore justice for all Europeans that Russia tries to blackmail with artificially inflated prices on the energy market.
Even before Russia started its war against Ukraine, many EU member states had called for deep and structural reform of the bloc’s energy market because they believed that the influence of gas in the wholesale electricity pricing was disproportionate.
“Of course, we will also talk about the need to look at the design of the electricity market in the medium term, i.e. to decouple, for example, the gas price from the general electricity pricing and – the most important issue today, tomorrow and beyond – massive investments in renewable energy,” von der Leyen said.
As energy bills soar, the EU chief executive has also proposed that some of the windfall profits made by power producers be used to support “low-income people and businesses vulnerable in these times of expensive electricity”.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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