Lawmakers in Spain approved the government’s energy-saving decree on Thursday, yet it remains uncertain whether the action will help the country meet its European commitment to reduce gas usage by 7%.

The emergency energy savings plan was introduced earlier this month within the European Union’s drive to cut the use of Russian gas. The measures include compulsory air-conditioning and heating temperature limits to switching off lights in public buildings. Further measures are scheduled to be unveiled next month.

The decree was backed by 187-161 votes in parliament, where the governing leftist coalition lacks a working majority, Reuters reports, so depends on smaller regional parties to approve legislation.

These energy saving measures have been slammed by the main opposition parties for being inefficient, improvised and detrimental to the country’s economy.

Defined as showing solidarity with the rest of Europe by the government, the plan has been a hard sell in Spain, a country that doesn’t rely on Russian gas and that has endured harsh heatwaves during the worst drought in decades.

“(The measures) imply a saving for those who apply them," said Spain’s Energy Minister Teresa Ribera before the vote took place. "They also are an inspiration for other European partners."

Ribera went on to say that the energy saving measures cut electricity use by 6% during their first week, the Reuters report adds.

Yet as the drought has curbed hydro-electric output, power plants have burned double the amount of gas so far in August compared to last year. This has driven Spain’s total gas usage up by 4%, according to Enagas gas grid operator.

Head of the Association of Energy Resources Studies, Marcel Coderch said there was another incentive for power utilities to use more gas due to the cap on the input cost of coal and gas utilised by power plants.

The scheme was authorised by Brussels in June, exclusively for Spain and Portugal, to curtail rising electricity retail prices.

News you might like

Media contact

deVere Spain’s Public Relations Department deals with all areas of the media and external communications including international, national, regional, local, trade, consumer, print, broadcast, social and online. The Department aims to provide a helpful service to journalists, broadcasters and editors, amongst others, and reply to all media enquiries, including urgent enquiries out of hours, within agreed deadlines. Our press office does not have access to client details and will not be able to assist with individual client enquiries. Please contact deVere Spain’s Head of Public Relations on [email protected] or call +44 2071220925