TALLINN – The European Union's plan to set a 15 percent gas consumption reduction goal is not a problem for Estonia, as gas consumption in our country has decreased already, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Thursday.
At its Thursday's sitting, the government declared Estonia's support for the Commission's proposal to establish a voluntary goal of 15 percent reduction in gas consumption across the EU, to be endorsed at the extraordinary council of EU energy ministers on July 26.
"In the first half of 2022, we consumed 18 percent less gas than during the same period in 2021. While as a long-term average, Estonia's gas consumption has been about five terawatt-hours a year, we now forecast the amount to be four terawatt-hours," Kallas said at a government press conference.
She said the purpose of the EU measure is to increase the readiness of the union to react to a possible termination of Russian gas supplies.
"The first will be voluntary targets to reduce gas consumption by 15 percent between August 1 this year and the end of March next year. However, if the situation in Europe deteriorates and gets worse in at least three member states that have declared an emergency, the EU can also declare an emergency at European level, which means that these gas consumption reduction targets will become mandatory," the premier explained.
If an EU-wide alert is declared and significant supply disruptions occur in the union's gas system, Estonia also supports binding gas consumption reduction targets, but these must take into account the previous efforts of the member states, regional measures and market-based reductions in gas consumption.
The European Commission published the proposal to reduce gas consumption on Wednesday.