There is not alternative to gas at least at the moment - Kalvitis

  • 2023-03-08
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The decrease in gas consumption last year was mainly determined by the high price, the warm climate and the fear of its shortage, but there is no certainty that consumption will decrease in the future, because at least at the moment there are no alternatives to gas, the chairman of the board of joint-stock gas supply company Latvijas Gaze Aigars Kalvitis told LETA in an interview.

He expressed the opinion that if the price of gas returned to the level of EUR 20 per megawatt hour (MWh), consumption would also increase again.

"This is clear, because at this price level, no other alternative fuel can really compete with gas, not only in terms of convenience, not only in terms of heat return, but also purely economically," said Kalvitis, adding that if the price of gas will be around EUR 100 again next winter, many other alternative fuels will gain advantages.

He explained that the second factor affecting gas consumption is climatic conditions.

"Winter has spoiled us this year. Only December was a little colder, but there was no period when the air temperature was minus 15 degrees or lower for 10 days in a row," said Kalvitis, explaining that when the temperatures are low, there is no alternative to gas.

The head of Latvijas Gaze stated that you can talk about biomass and something else, but biomass is very effective if the temperature does not fall below minus five degrees, but it is not effective at minus 20 degrees. "This year there have been no such temperatures. I remember that in March 2018 it was around minus 20 degrees for two weeks, and then the Incukalns facility was working at full capacity, because the gas consumption was huge," said Kalvitis.

As for consumption in general, he explained that December was a cold month this heating season, and households used historically average amounts of gas in December.

Kalvitis emphasized that, of course, many are refusing gas, but when the air temperature is low, there is nothing to replace gas with. "That's why we are now putting medals on our chests that we have reduced gas consumption by 40 percent... This has been influenced by completely different factors," said Kalvitis, adding that gas consumption has decreased, but whether it will continue to decrease is a matter of the future.

He also pointed out that, for example, industry basically works on natural gas, and if industry is somewhat functional, then consumption is completely different.

"That is why, yes - this year there is a reduction, the reason being prices, the warm climate, fear of a deficit. Will it be the same in the coming years? I am not really sure about this, because I do not see an alternative to gas, at least at the moment," said Kalvitis.