Scandinavian countries are taking extraordinary steps to decrease energy use and ramp up supply, by banding together to buy, borrow and build additional power supplies, while pushing out major conservation programs recalling the response to the 1970s’ oil crisis: underground storage sites have been fully stocked with emergency gas supplies. In Finland, where sauna baths are a national pastime, the government is urging friends and families to take saunas together to save energy. In Sweden, thermostats are being lowered to just 19 degrees Celsius. Denmark is drilling for more natural gas in their own backyards, despite opposition from environmental groups. Eleven countries, including Germany, Finland and Estonia, are now building or expanding a total of 18 offshore terminals to process liquid gas shipped in from other countries, while Finland is planning to extend the lifetime of one nuclear reactor. Energy use dropped in September in several countries, although it is hard to know for sure if the cause was balmy weather, high prices or voluntary conservation efforts inspired by a sense of civic duty: nonetheless, there are signs that businesses, organizations and the public are responding. In Sweden, for example, the Lund Diocese is planning to partly or fully close 150 of 540 churches this winter to conserve energy. Denmark wants households to shun dryers and use clotheslines. The Finnish government introduced a “Down a degree” campaign to get over 95% of households to save energy. The campaign promotes using the stairs over the elevator, and biking or taking public transit to work. And in a country where there are three million saunas for 5.5 million people, the campaign urged people to take fewer, shorter and cooler heat baths by turning down the temperature to 185 degrees from 212. According to Fingrad, the main grid operator, in the coming winter efforts to save electricity may be the key to avoiding electricity shortages. Businesses are being asked to ratchet down their energy use by at least 10% in the coming months, while governments, themselves huge users of energy, are reducing heating, curbing streetlight use and closing municipal swimming pools. Read more on