Luxemburg“Relaunch the issue of teleworking” to save energy
LUXEMBOURG – Claude Turmes, the Minister of Energy, clarifies Luxembourg’s plan to reduce its gas consumption by 15% by March 2023.
“The essentials”: Is saving 15% natural gas a lot for the country?”
Claude Turmes: Yes, and all the actors will have to get involved. We will define clear measures for all public buildings. The State and municipalities must set an example to motivate citizens and businesses. We are working on this with ministers François Bausch and Taina Bofferding.
Will you set a maximum temperature for public buildings?
It is not intended to say, “It will be 19 or 20 degrees”. I don’t know if that would be really helpful. Our method will first consist in optimizing all the technical installations and encouraging the occupants not to waste. Do not set the thermostat too high, turn off the lights when leaving the office.
Illuminated roads and windows, heated terraces, will that change?
The Ponts et Chaussées, responsible for public lighting, have been instructed to study what they can do. For supermarkets and shop windows, the Union des entreprises luxembourgeoises will offer its members (industrialists, traders, SMEs) a voluntary agreement on measures. Regarding the terraces, I believe that we can take a plaid rather than heating them with gas.
Should night sports matches be stopped?
You have to find a good balance between what is effective and what can cause a lot of turmoil or hostility in the population. See where the potential gains are. In terms of electricity, for example, there is great potential for savings in data centers. To operate them at 22 or 23 degrees rather than 18 would weigh far more than all the football matches in the evening.
Why wait until September to launch the plan?
Unlike Spain or Italy where there is more air conditioning and extreme heat, we in August have the lowest level of gas consumption of the whole year, people are on vacation. Such a campaign must be launched at the right time. The right time for Luxembourg is September.
What about big companies?
We had discussions with the UEL, with the Fedil to identify, among large consumers Guardian, Arcelor, DuPont or Goodyear what we can do. They are very proactive and there are large volumes of gas reduction. Arcelor, for example, will be able in Luxembourg to reduce its gas consumption by 15% next winter. Resellers like Enovos, SudEnergie will also accelerate all incentives to citizens.
Will aid increase?
State aid is already at a very high level. We have kept them at this level and we have simplified access. Electricity and gas suppliers are considering increasing the bonuses given to citizens in the event of a change from a gas boiler to a heat pump.
What do you expect from the citizen and what do you do yourself?
Already today, I don’t heat my bedroom, I monitor the temperature in the rest of my apartment. I take three-minute showers instead of thirty. What we can do is check the installation before winter, reduce waste on temperature and hot water consumption, because it is the second largest consumer of gas in buildings in Luxembourg.
The country’s emergency plan in the event of a shortage will be corrected at the end of September…
It was calibrated on a short-lived event, a pipeline rupture. There, we are in a different scenario with a possible shortage in January, February and March of next year. Private consumers are protected customers, manufacturers are not. So the load shedding plan mainly concerns them, with reduction obligations that would go beyond 15%. But we really hope that the voluntary measures in Europe are sufficient to avoid having to resort to them.
And for telecommuting?
At European level, we are currently in a voluntary system of reducing consumption by 15%. A second stage provides that in the event of a real shortage, we move to a compulsory system. The day this is the case, I believe it would be in Luxembourg’s interest to put the issue of telework back on the table at European level.