Thursday, 5 December 2013

Burn less gas - do Ukraine a favour

At an event I was at this evening, I learnt from an energy specialist working for a well-known oil and gas company that unlike Poland (where less than 50% of households are connected to the gas mains), in Ukraine, nearly all houses and flats are heated by gas. Cheap, subsidised gas that's generally unmetered, where few buildings use thermostats, and where vastly more gas is used to heat homes than is the case in Poland.

So Putin has the Ukrainians by the short and curlies. (And most of Belarus's electricity is generated by burning gas.) Any wayward activities that are contrary to the interests of Greater Russia, and off goes the gas mid-winter. But this winter...?

We shall see what happens this mid-winter in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, Putin's personal pet propaganda project. The sight of Ukrainians freezing as cuddly Olympic mascots frolic about Sochi's ski-jumps and ice-rinks is not one that Putin would wish to see on TV screens around the world.

In the meantime, while Poland waits to see whether there is any commercially viable shale gas under its territory, and as we wait for the Świnioujście LPG port to open, it behoves us to remember where the gas we burn comes from. And act accordingly.

If every Pole turned down the central heating by just two degrees centigrade this winter, it would make a noticeable difference to Poland's balance of trade deficit with Russia. And would show that we are not indifferent to the actions of a bully. So instead of walking around an over-heated house in shirtsleeves this winter, put on a pullover and turn down the thermostat a notch or two.

Czester says: "Oi! Human! Turn down the heating - alright?"
Energy saving is the 'fifth fuel' (the first four being fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables and er... what's the fourth one again?). Saving energy is a lot more efficient than any of the others because you don't have to generate, transmit or distribute the fifth fuel. And in the case of Poland, which is highly dependent on a less-than-friendly neighbour for nearly all of its gas, saving energy is a matter of national security too.

This time three years ago:
Early evening atmosphere

This time five years ago:
Toponyms - how many names has Jeziorki?

This time six years ago:
On the road to Białystok


Alexander said...

Yes, a lot of people in Poland still would prefer to walk aroung in there homes with just a t-shirt during winter, with the heating on max because they do not want to feel cold, and the windows open because they want fresh air. -))

Best regards, Alexander

Andrzej K said...

I must admit I rather like Stanisław Tym's ad re turning down the thermostat. I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who live in modern flats, wehere heating metered but who still control the temperature not by using the radiator theromstat but the "Polish thermostat" otherwise known as opening the window to reduce ambient temperature. A classic economic dichotomy where everyone in a block of flats pays for heating based on sqaure metres but a nonsense where people pay directly for what they use.