Help Ukraine by turning down the heating, a good idea?

The idea might make you laugh, but it’s one of 10 measures proposed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to quickly reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. A way to trade directly at its scale.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory, the energy issue in Europe has come to the fore again, due to the continent’s heavy dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

It is in this context that the IEA has just released a report, which in turn seeks to take Europe’s energy demand out of its Russian dependency as quickly as possible through 10 concrete measures. In addition to increasing storage capacity and diversifying delivery points, the AIE has also proposed an original solution in which the consumer is directly involved: reducing heating costs.

According to the report, “ Many European citizens have already responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in various ways, through donations or, in some cases, by directly helping Ukrainian refugees. Adjusting heating controls in gas-heated buildings in Europe would be another option for temporary action, saving significant amounts of energy Specifically, the Agency proposes that European consumers gradually reduce their heating consumption in order to directly slow down EU imports of Russian gas.

A “collective responsibility

According to the IEA, lower the temperature in a home, company building or administration by one degree “would provide immediate annual energy savings of approximately 10 billion cubic meters”

Knowing that the EU has imported 155 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, the generalization of this is ” collective responsibility So according to Barbara Pompili, Minister for the Ecological Transition, this in itself could lead to a decrease of about 6.45% in the same imports between 2021 and 2022.

At first sight, this measure is particularly effective and relevant for several reasons. According to Nicolas Berghmans, Europe manager, Energy-Climate expert at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and contacted by Le Figaro, “this measure can contribute on its own scale to the reduction of the revenues of Russian companies and thus, by extension, of the state. In addition, lowering the temperature in a home or commercial building may have an effect on comfort, but ultimately little impact on the economy.

But are European consumers determined to turn down their thermostats? †The European public authorities really need to communicate on this issue and show that consumers have the means to come to the aid of Ukraine at their level. This should not be difficult to accept with the emotion generated by this conflict, especially since people have been used to saving energy for financial or environmental reasons for some time now.adds Nicolas Berghmans.

According to a report by the French Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe), reducing your heating by one degree can save you 7% of your total energy consumption. The AIE’s proposals are therefore fully in line with the logic of Green Deal of 14 July 2021, which aims to develop renewable energy sources on a large scale and reduce the EU’s economic and geopolitical dependence on fossil fuels.

The hunt for waste to prevent shortages

Asking the population to reduce their heating consumption is also a way for Europe to protect itself from the risk of shortages. For Nicolas Berghmans, “To do without Russian hydrocarbons is, of course, a huge challenge. However, it is important to separate the short term from the long term. This IEA measure is part of a waste-hunting logic that fits perfectly with the current situation where the risk of shortages is real. The same situation is also a good opportunity to respond more quickly to longer-term challenges, such as the energy transition or thermal renovation.