Turn down your thermostat by 1°C to reduce need for Russian gas, urges regulator

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While Britain only gets around 4% of its gas from Russia, Europe is heavily reliant on the country’s supplies, with Germany and Austria claiming more than 50% of it from the nation

The UK’s householders are being asked to lower their thermostats in order to lessen Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), lowering your thermostat by 1 degree Celsius is one of 10 ways that you can bring down Russia’s gas imports by a third.

While Britain only gets around 4% of its gas from Russia, Europe is heavily reliant on the country’s supplies, with Germany and Austria claiming more than 50% of it from the nation.

Both countries have vowed to end that dependence this week in response to Russia ’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine last week.

According to the IEA lowering the temperature by one degree would reduce Russia’s dominance on the market.

It also has financial benefits. Energy experts at uSwitch suggest turning your thermostat down by just one degree could save you £80 a year on your heating bill.

The IEA stated that Europe should not sign new gas supply agreements with Russia.

The UK should use Russian gas to replace it and increase the number of solar and wind projects. This alone could reduce gas usage by 6 billion cubic meters per year.

Further advice states that Britain should maximize power generation from renewable energy and nuclear, and adopt short-term tax policies to protect electricity consumers who are vulnerable from high prices.

It encourages the rapid rollout of heat pumps, which would eliminate the use of gas and increase energy efficiency in buildings.

According to the head of IEA, Europe must find alternative energy sources to Russian oil as soon as possible.

“Nobody is under any illusions anymore. Russia’s use of its natural gas resources as an economic and political weapon show Europe needs to act quickly to be ready to face considerable uncertainty over Russian gas supplies next winter,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

“The IEA’s 10-Point Plan provides practical steps to cut Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports by over a third within a year while supporting the shift to clean energy in a secure and affordable way. Europe needs to rapidly reduce the dominant role of Russia in its energy markets and ramp up the alternatives as quickly as possible.”

The European Union imported over 380million cubic meters (mcm), per day, of Russian gas via pipelines in 2021. This is approximately 140billion cubic meters (bcm), for the entire year.

Around 15 bcm of this volume was also delivered as liquefied natural gases (LNG). The total 155 bcm imported from Russia accounted for around 45% of the EU’s gas imports in 2021.

The UK still uses very little Russian gas but it accounts for approximately 6% of total imports and around 4% of UK gas demand. This is despite the fact that almost no Russian gas was imported in 2017 according to an analysis of government data by Energy and Climate Intelligence Units (ECIU).

The North Sea and Norway account for the majority of Britain’s gas.

Will Russia’s invasion push up UK gas prices?

The UK receives less than 5% of its natural gas from Russia, but gas prices can be affected by fluctuations on the global markets.

Right now, US and EU sanctions are affecting Russian trade and driving up global gas prices.

The sanctions imposed in the West are intended to prevent Russia’s banks doing business with several major economies, and also cripple Putin’s ability to fund his war efforts.

However, experts are concerned that Putin might retaliate by cutting gas supplies to Europe. If this happened, wholesale prices would rise and push prices up all over the world, even in the UK.

It would also mean an increase in the energy price cap for this October.

Average household bills are already expected to rise by about £700 to about £2,000 in April when the price cap is increased. Fall review will likely be more expensive if prices go up dramatically.