Europe turns off Christmas lights to cut energy consumption, while Russia controls gas supply

Christmas lights Europe

A Christmas market in Mainz, Germany.

  • European countries are turning off Christmas lights this year to reduce energy consumption.
  • A German organization proposed having one lit Christmas tree for every community in the country.
  • Russia’s crackdown on gas supplies to Europe has led to energy-saving measures on the continent.
  • For more stories, visit Business Insider.

Nations across Europe are urging people to turn off their Christmas lights this winter to conserve energy as Russia curbs gas flows to the continent.

It’s one of the ways countries including Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Austria are trying to cut power consumption before winter, while Moscow is choking gas supply to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline, which was damaged last week.

According to the German non-profit environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the Christmas lights in houses, apartments and cities must be turned off this year.

Jürgen Resch, the federal director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, told Insider in a statement that 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 to reduce Christmas lights to one lit tree per community,” Resch said.

The private lighting sector in Germany alone consumes more than 600 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is as much as a medium-sized city with 400,000 inhabitants consumes in one year, according to Resch.

This Christmas can get really special if people make conscious decisions to give up certain things, conserve energy and show solidarity, Resch told Insider, adding that communities should consider having just one lit Christmas tree.

Germany isn’t the only country to go dark this holiday season.

Austria is expected to postpone turning on the lights at the Christmas markets in the capital Vienna, per Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese government recently announced that the Christmas lights should only be turned on from 6pm to midnight between December 6 and January 6.

In Denmark, the amount of time public Christmas lights last in the capital Copenhagen is expected to be reduced by 60% due to the energy crisis, Michael Gatten, director of the trade association KBH Trade and Culture, Danish broadcaster TV2 told Lorry.

At the same time, communities in Cyprus are considering cutting Christmas lights for four to six weeks this year, Andreas Kitromilides, president of the communities union, told Stockwatch.

Russia has halted gas supplies to Europe in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine. The resulting energy crisis has forced European governments, banks and other companies to take energy-saving measures, such as using less hot water and turning off fountains.

Italians have been urged to cook their pasta with the stove turned off to cut energy bills, while Finland has told people to spend less time in saunas and showers to save energy. German bakeries turned off their lights in protest at rising bills, while Britons threw away $29,000 vintage stoves to combat skyrocketing energy costs, according to Bloomberg.

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