Luxembourg: “Relaunch teleworking” to save energy
Luxembourg“Reinvigorating telecommuting” to save energy
LUXEMBOURG – Energy Minister Claude Turmes outlines Luxembourg’s plan to reduce its gas consumption by 15% by March 2023.
“The essentials”: Is 15% natural gas savings a lot for the country?”
Claude Turmes: Yes, and all actors have to contribute. We will define clear measures for all public buildings. The state and local authorities must set a good example in order to motivate citizens and companies. We are working on this with Ministers François Bausch and Taina Bofferding.
Will you set a maximum temperature for public buildings?
It shouldn’t say: “It will be 19 or 20 degrees”. I don’t know if that would really help. Our method will initially consist of optimizing all technical installations and encouraging residents not to waste. Don’t set the thermostat too high, turn off the lights when you leave the office.
Illuminated streets and windows, heated terraces, will that change?
The Ponts et Chaussées, responsible for public lighting, have been asked to see what they can do. For supermarkets and shop windows, the Union des entrepreneurs luxembourgeoises offers its members (industrials, retailers, SMEs) a voluntary agreement on measures. As for the terraces, I think we can take a plaid instead of heating them with gas.
Should night sports games be discontinued?
You have to find a good balance between what is effective and what can cause a lot of uproar or hostility among the population. See where the potential gains lie. When it comes to electricity, for example, there is great potential for savings in data centers. Running them at 22 or 23 degrees instead of 18 would weigh far more than all the football games in the evening.
Why wait until September to start the plan?
Unlike Spain or Italy where there is more air conditioning and extreme heat, in August we have the lowest 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 talks with UEL, with Fedil, to find out what we could do among the big consumers, Guardian, Arcelor, DuPont or Goodyear. They are very proactive and there are large amounts of gas reduction. Arcelor, for example, can reduce its gas consumption by 15% in Luxembourg next winter. Resellers like Enovos, SudEnergie will also speed up all the incentives for citizens.
Will aid increase?
State aid is already at a very high level. We have kept them at this level and have simplified access. Electricity and gas suppliers are considering increasing the premiums for citizens switching from a gas boiler to a heat pump.
What do you expect from citizens and what do you do yourself?
Already today I don’t heat my bedroom, I monitor the temperature in the rest of the apartment. I shower for three minutes instead of thirty. What we can do is check the installation before winter, reduce wastage of temperature and hot water consumption as it is the second largest consumer of gas in buildings in Luxembourg.
The country’s contingency plan in case of shortage will be corrected at the end of September…
It was calibrated to a short-lived event, a burst pipe. There we are in a different scenario with possible shortages in January, February and March next year. Private consumers are protected customers, manufacturers are not. So the load-shedding plan mainly affects them, with mitigation commitments that would go beyond 15%. But we very much hope that the voluntary measures in Europe will be enough to avoid having to resort to them.
And for telework?
At European level we are currently in a voluntary system to reduce consumption by 15%. A second stage is that if there is a real shortage, we will switch to a compulsory system. When that happens, I think it would be in Luxembourg’s interest to bring the issue of teleworking back to the table at European level.