The world could see another sharp increase in natural gas prices this coming winter, in what would push up energy costs and force governments to intervene once again and subsidize energy bills, according to Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), news agencies reported, citing the BBC.
In case that China’s economy gets stronger and the country buys large amounts of energy, and if there is a harsh winter, the IEA cannot rule out a gas price increase similar to the hike seen last year, which was caused by the war in Ukraine, according to Birol, who was speaking for BBC Radio 4.
Birol: China’s economic recovery coupled with a harsh winter could push up gas prices
This, according to him, would put additional pressure on consumers and force governments to offer subsidies for energy bills. He also warned of possible blackouts this winter, according to the BBC.
Although it is uncertain whether the Chinese economy will grow at such a pace, Birol urged governments around the world to continue to promote energy saving measures.
The IEA chief urged governments to promote energy saving measures and renewable energy
Governments should also seek to speed up the roll-out of new renewable energy technologies, cut permitting times for green energy projects, and explore “alternative energy options.”
EU scrambling to end reliance on Russian gas
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Moscow, which in turn reduced gas deliveries to Europe. This caused gas prices to soar and prompted the EU to seek ways to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
One of the steps the EU took was the adoption of the REPowerEU plan, aimed at rapidly reducing dependence on fossil fuels imported from Russia and speeding up the green energy transition. It calls for investing an additional EUR 210 billion by 2027, increasing the share of renewables from 40% to 45% by 2030, saving energy, and diversifying supplies.