Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world has been experiencing its first truly global energy crisis, which has caused prices to soar and disrupted energy trade flows. While natural gas supply to Europe was front and centre of the crisis, the ripple effects have been felt throughout the energy industry and across all regions of the world.
In the European Union, the carbon dioxide intensity of the power sector increased significantly in 2022. As security of supply became the overriding priority for policy makers, some countries restarted coal-fired power plants while outages at nuclear plants and low hydropower output challenged the reliability of the system. This supported gas demand for power generation even though gas prices were at record highs. Despite the focus on supply side issues, trends in electricity demand received less attention. In this commentary, we look at the drivers behind the decline in electricity demand including weather patterns and high prices as well as the regional differences between countries in the European Union.
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