Europe races to prep for winter energy crunch

STORY: Europe is racing to prepare for a winter energy crunch.

Several governments set out new plans on Monday (September 19).

Spain detailed measures that could force energy-intensive industries to shut at peak times, with provision for compensation.

France said it was preparing to send gas to Germany from October.

Meanwhile, Berlin said it was still in talks over more aid for ailing utility firm Uniper.

These are just the latest move since Russia drastically scaled back gas supplies to Europe.

Moscow says that’s a result of maintenance issues with the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

European governments say it’s retaliation for Western sanctions, and energy blackmail.

Germany’s economy is already contracting as a result.

On Monday the country’s central bank said the contraction would get worse over the winter as gas consumption is cut or rationed.

The same day, vice chancellor Robert Habeck said he was working on getting new supplies from the UAE and elsewhere:

“Gas offers are slowly expanding. The German government is constantly in talks with a lot of countries, also with the countries on the Arabian peninsula.”

French regulators say they could start sending gas to Germany around October 10 to help out.

Previously the supplies had all flowed the other way, and the system wasn’t set up to reverse.

French energy group EDF is also racing to get nuclear reactors that are undergoing maintenance back on line.

But regulators say localised power cuts are still possible this winter.