The gas crisis is making Europe look for solutions – News on World

A surge in gas prices has hit UK consumers and energy companies, with repercussions on the food industry and carbon supplies.

Elsewhere in Europe, too, consumers are facing steep spikes in energy bills and governments are looking to help. The crisis has shown how difficult it is for Europeans to finance the transition to renewable energies. Here five correspondents explain how different countries react to this.

Consumer bills have skyrocketed here in recent months, with electricity bills rising 35% last year and nearly 8% in August alone.

Energy prices in Spain are closely linked to the gas wholesale market, so that the price per megawatt hour for consumers has recently reached new highs again and again.

“I paid around 40 euros a month and now I pay around 60 euros,” said Amparo Vega, who runs a newspaper kiosk in central Madrid.

Earlier this month, the coalition government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez unveiled a series of measures aimed at bringing down bills again.

These include tax cuts and a temporary reduction in the extraordinary profits of energy companies. The latter move has sparked criticism from the industry, despite the government making it clear that renewable energy providers will be excluded.

The government’s goal is to cut electricity bills by over 20% by the end of the year. When winter approaches, consumers like Ms. Vega hope that

Italy’s € 3 billion protection package

“The prospects are not very rosy,” says Michele Fiorita, taking a breath in front of his shop in the center of Rome.

“My energy bills are up about 15%, but I’ve heard they are going to increase about 40% over the next few months.”

Italy is particularly exposed to gas price increases: 40% of its energy comes from natural gas and around half of it is imported from Russia.

Lower Russian gas exports to Europe and an increase in raw material prices have hit hard.

The Italian government has already spent around € 1.2 billion to reduce the rise in energy prices for households and this week pledged an additional € 3 billion to help further over the coming months.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi says “system costs” will be removed from gas and electricity bills for the next three months. They are the tariffs that are added to bills to fund the transition to renewable energy.

It’s a short-term sticking plaster to reduce the rise in energy prices for ailing households, but remove a major financial incentive for switching to renewable energies.

Basically, Italy needs to diversify its energy sources, away from reliance on gas and towards green energy. “That is definitely the future,” says Michele, “this is the only way to reduce costs in the long term.”

Rising prices pose problems for the EU climate campaign

As rising energy costs create great personal difficulties for families, they are also a difficult policy for Brussels.

EU leaders have been busy pushing their comprehensive climate plan to cut CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 – an initiative known as Fit for 55.

It’s broad, but includes suggestions that critics say could lead to further huge price hikes.

Even proponents of the measures tacitly admit that one way or another, moving to a greener economy inevitably kills people. Regarding the current crisis, the European Commission says that price increases are a combination of several factors, in particular the worldwide surge in demand.

Some of the increases are blamed on carbon allowance price increases under the EU’s carbon pricing system, but the Commission says it is only a “small percentage”. She wants to expand this scheme under “Fit for 55”.

But with the Spanish government calling for the energy crisis to be put on the table at the next summit of EU heads of state and government, Brussels is faced with the question of what it can or will do to help.

Guidelines are being developed on the mitigation measures that Member States will take individually under EU rules

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