Big Read

Keeping the lights on: How EU countries are responding to the energy crisis

With Russia edging closer to a full shut-off of gas exports, European governments are in full crisis mode as winter approaches. But countries as powerful as Germany are in a bind when it comes to reducing energy demands, and less wealthy nations such as Spain and Italy face their own particular difficulties. How can this once-in-a-generation problem be overcome?

Ireland is not alone in grappling with how it will respond to energy price rises projected for this winter. Other European countries are also taking diverse approaches – including price caps and demand reduction decrees. Picture: Shutterstock

Like participants in an ancient Roman Empire ritual, residents of Naples stepped forward one by one in the city’s central square last week to toss their energy bills into a freshly-lit fire, in the hope that their public offering might illicit a response from the gods.

“We won’t pay our bills. Now it will be chaos,” residents chanted as they stormed the town hall, protesting at the rate of energy price increases occurring in Italy ...