EU Could Close Stores to Conserve Energy Amid Shortage

The European Union is considering closing some stores to conserve energy as the shortages become wildly apparent. Finland stores could have to take turns closing for hours at a time to reduce their energy usage this winter.

The country’s grid operator told news outlet YLE on Sunday that with more fuel shortages expected, Finnish households will also be told to lower their consumption and stores may be forced to close. According to the grid operator, Finland’s roughly 2,800 food stores will need to come to arrangements with each other over who will close and who will stay open if power is rationed in a particular area. This kind of agreement is especially important in rural areas to ensure that all the outlets in one town or village don’t end up shutting at the same time, YLE noted according to a report by RT.

Finland only uses gas to generate around 3.6% of its electricity, with most power generated in the Nordic nation coming from hydro and nuclear, per figures from 2020. Until recently, however, Finland imported just under a fifth of its power from Russia and Estonia. Finland voluntarily dropped the amount of Russian power it was importing in April, and was cut off entirely by its Russian supplier, RAO Nordic, which said it had stopped receiving payment from Finland. –RT

In May, Finland applied along with Sweden to join the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance and has already had its gas supply from Russia cut off after refusing to pay for the commodity in rubles, as Russia had asked all “unfriendly” countries to do.

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The country’s newest nuclear reactor, originally scheduled to open in 2009, has not yet come on line either. YLE reported last month that the reactor will not start producing power until December when it is expected to meet nearly one-sixth of the country’s demand. Equipment malfunctions and other technical issues have plagued the nuclear project since its construction began in 2005. Supply chain shortages are also expected to play a role in almost every industry.

Along with the EU’s 26 other member states, Finland has also committed to lowering its gas consumption by 15% over the winter, under an agreement that could become mandatory if the bloc declares a state of emergency.

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