Europe is facing a deepening energy crisis, partly because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, as Moscow has suspended natural gas supplies in response to economic sanctions imposed by the West.
As a result, European governments are trying to diversify supplies and introduce measures to reduce demand and save energy.
Here are the latest developments on the energy front in Europe.
No baguettes, no croissants. Tuesday was a sad day for hundreds of bakeries and their dedicated customers.
With stores suffering from skyrocketing energy costs, 500 bakers staged a protest on what they called a “Day of Mourning” by shuttering their storefronts.
The action was intended to draw attention to the serious problems bakeries face, which normally bake their goods on the premises.
“My electricity bill has jumped from €400 ($401) to €1,200 a month. This means that I have to take out a gross salary just for the energy costs. That’s not manageable,” a baker who took part in the action told French news outlet France Bleue.
While the government introduced a kind of shield to limit the rise in energy prices for small businesses to 15%, those businesses must meet three criteria to benefit: revenues of less than €2 million per year, 10 employees or less and limited electricity consumption.
But that last requirement is impossible to meet for 80% of bakers, according to France Bleue, because ovens, kneading machines and cold rooms require huge outlays of energy.
Because the zoo in Dresden can no longer handle rising energy costs at its terrarium, the animal house will be closed. The building is a structure dating back to 1961.
Since it is a terrarium, it must be permanently heated to 28 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit). The zoo is closing the house to “not run the terrarium to its planned end at any price,” the zoo wrote on its website.
The original idea was for the terrarium not to close until next year’s planned opening of a new orangutan house. The animals were to move to the orangutan house but the energy crisis is throwing a wrench in those plans.
Affected are animals such as emerald monitor lizards, Australian freshwater crocodiles and snakes. Some of the animals will nevertheless remain at the zoo. Others will be given to private individuals and other zoos, according to the plans.
The Dresden Zoo is the fourth oldest zoo in Germany and looks back on a long, moving history and tradition, according to its website,
Meanwhile, the CEO of German automaker Audi said introducing highway speed limits and “car-free days” could help the country as it faces the energy crisis and effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, according to local media.
“We have to rethink, realize that our lives are changing,” Markus Duesmann told the daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, adding that money should no longer be the “only regulator” in the current situation.
Arguing that a return to daylong driving bans that had been introduced to help Germany overcome the oil crisis in the 1970s would not be a problem, Duesmann said: “If it’s a Sunday, I’ll ride my racing bike across the closed highway.”
Duesmann admitted that Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, was seeing “early signs” of a decline in orders in Europe.
While the company would not have to yet lower forecasts, Duesmann said there was”something coming, we can’t rule anything out.”