Europe races to prepare for energy crunch this winter

By Tassilo Hummel, Inti Landauro and Miranda Murray PARIS/MADRID/BERLIN (Reuters) - European governments outlined new measures on Monday to cope with potential

energy shortages this winter and raced to improve energy networks to share power, with Russian gas flows still running at severely reduced rates amid the Ukraine war.

Spain drew up plans that could force energy-intensive industries to shut at peak demand times, France said it was preparing to send gas to Germany from October, while Berlin

said Europe's powerhouse was still in talks on state aid for ailing utility Uniper. German buyers briefly reserved capacity on Monday to receive Russian gas via the Nord

Stream 1 pipeline, once one of Europe's major gas supply routes, for the first time since the line was shut three weeks ago. But they soon dropped the requests. It was

not immediately clear why buyers had submitted requests for capacity when Russia has given no indication since it shut the line that it would restart any time soon.

Russia, which had supplied about 40% of the European Union's gas before its February invasion of Ukraine, has said it closed the pipeline because Western sanctions hindered

operations. European politicians say that is a pretext and accuse Moscow of using energy as a weapon. European gas prices have more than doubled from the start of the

year amid a decline in Russian supplies.