Build Back Better? ... Energy Rationing to ‘Flatten the Curve’
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for the implementation of “mandatory” energy rationing throughout the EU during peak hours in order to “flatten the curve” of demand amid the largely self-inflicted energy crisis befalling the bloc.
During a speech on Wednesday proposing energy rationing measures to be put in place before the Winter months when demand peaks, the EU president said: “During peak demand, the expensive gas comes into the market. So what we have to do is flatten the curve to avoid the peak demands, we will propose a mandatory target for reducing electricity use at peak hours and we will work very closely with the member states to achieve this.”
“These are tough times and they’re not over soon,” von der Leyen said. “But I am convinced that Europeans have the economic strength, the political will, and unity to keep the upper hand.”
The use of the same rhetoric from the early stages of the virus outbreak is ominous given that there does not appear to be an end in sight for the energy crisis enrapturing the continent, meaning that energy rationing could become another “new normal” that we will be forced to accept.
Indeed, late last month, Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of multinational oil and gas giant Shell warned that Europe will face years of shortages, saying: “It may well be that we will have a number of winters where we have to somehow find solutions.”
Energy rationing proposals have already come out of several member states, including France, Italy, and Germany. President Emmanuel Macron, who has warned that France is facing the “end of abundance“, urged citizens this week to limit their energy usage in order to prevent future government imposed rationing, mirroring similar statements from outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.