Europe burned more gas for electricity production from the start of the year to the end of July this year than in the same period last year, even though EU member states have pledged to cut gas consumption by 15 percent due to energy prices. This was reported by the EU Observer server, citing an analysis by Rystad Energy.
Gas burned for electricity was 4.28 percent more year-on-year, which means 13.2 terawatts more for the amount of electricity produced. Coal was then burned by 11.9 percent more.
The fault is that the electricity generated from other sources has decreased, so the 27-year-old has to burn more gas and coal. Hydropower, which provides 16 percent of Europe’s electricity, was particularly hard hit. As temperatures rose in the summer months, hydroelectric plants had to divert water or shut down altogether.
In France, Europe’s largest producer, hydroelectric plants produced 27 percent less electricity. In Italy and Spain, supply decreased by 40 and 44 percent, respectively. Nuclear power plants were also forced to slow down because the flow of water in rivers normally used to cool reactors was too low. This contributed to a 57 percent drop in nuclear power production in France.
In July, energy ministers agreed to voluntarily cut gas consumption by 15 percent as part of a package of measures to prevent gas shortages this winter.
High gas prices
The wholesale price of gas for the European market is increasing significantly, reacting to the interruption of supplies by the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline from Russia. The price of the key gas futures contract for October delivery rose by around a third this morning at the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) virtual trading hub in the Netherlands. Shortly after noon on Monday, it showed a growth of 26 percent above 271 euros (about 6,670 CZK) per megawatt hour (MWh).
Russian gas company Gazprom announced on Friday evening that maintenance work on the only operational turbine of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline had revealed faults. The gas pipeline will therefore remain out of service until they are removed. Nord Stream 1 transports gas from Russia to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea and is the main route for Russian gas supplies to the European Union.
The situation surrounding Russian gas supplies became more complicated when Russia launched an attack on Ukraine in February and the European Union enacted a series of anti-Russian sanctions in retaliation. Uncertainty over supplies from Russia raises concerns about gas shortages in Europe in the winter months. This increases gas and electricity prices in Europe. The European Union is now considering various measures in an attempt to limit the growth of energy costs, which has negative effects on the EU economy and the living standards of the population.
A year ago, the wholesale price of gas in Europe was just under 30 euros, and two years ago it was around 15 euros per MWh. It started to increase already last autumn, according to some analysts, it was a reaction to the energy policy of the European Union, which is pushing for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels without an adequate solution. Another noticeable increase in prices occurred after the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine in February this year.