Europe Turns Off Christmas Lights to Save Energy As Russia Chokes Gas
- European countries are turning off Christmas lights this year to cut down on energy use.
- A German organization suggested having one lit-up Christmas tree for each community in the country.
- Russia’s crackdown on gas supplies to Europe has led to energy-saving measures on the continent.
Nations across Europe are urging people to turn off their Christmas lights this winter to save energy as Russia clamps down on gas flows to the continent.
It’s one of the ways that countries including Germany, Portugal, Denmark, and Austria are trying to reduce power consumption ahead of winter as Moscow chokes gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline, which was damaged last week.
According to the German non-profit environmental organization, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Christmas lights in houses, apartments, and cities should be unplugged this year.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe’s Federal Managing Director Jürgen Resch told Insider in a statement the suggestion was not only in light of the energy shortage following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also for climate protection reasons.
“One solution could be the reduction of Christmas lighting to one illuminated tree per community,” Resch said.
The private lighting sector alone consumes more than 600 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year in Germany, which is as much as a medium-sized city with 400,000 inhabitants uses in one year, Resch said.
This Christmas could end up being very special if people make conscious decisions to give up certain things, save energy, and show solidarity, Resch told Insider, adding that communities should consider having just one lit Christmas tree.
Germany isn’t the only country that may go dark this festive season.
Austria is expected to delay the turning on of the lights at Christmas markets in its capital, Vienna, per Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s government recently announced that Christmas lighting should be only be switched on from 6:00 p.m. to midnight between December 6 and January 6.
In Denmark, the amount of time that public Christmas lights in the capital, Copenhagen, run for is expected to be cut by 60% because of the energy crisis, Michael Gatten, director of the trade association KBH — Commerce and Culture, told Danish broadcaster TV2 Lorry.
At the same time, communities in Cyprus are looking at scrapping Christmas lights for four to six weeks this year, Andreas Kitromilides, president of the union of communities told Stockwatch.
Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in retaliation against Western sanctions imposed on Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine. The resulting energy crisis has forced European governments, banks, and other businesses to implement energy-saving measures, such as using less hot water and turning off fountains.
Italians were urged to cook their pasta with the stove turned off to reduce energy bills, while Finland has told people to spend less time in saunas and showers to conserve power. German bakeries switched their lights off in protest of surging bills at the same time as Britons were throwing out $29,000 vintage stoves to combat sky-high energy costs, per Bloomberg.
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