The Hague: Companies and consumers in the Netherlands are using less natural gas and turning to coal and renewable energy sources as the country, like many other European countries, suffers from declining natural gas supplies from Russia.
Prices are sky-rocketing and the authorities are searching for storage sites and alternatives.
“Gas consumption has decreased across the society, from companies to consumers,” Peter Hein van Mulligen, chief economist at Statistics Netherlands, told Xinhua news agency on Friday.
“This will undoubtedly continue for a while, which also has to do with the rising price. Everyone needs gas, so the price goes up and companies are looking for alternatives.”
Natural gas consumption in the Netherlands amounted to 17.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) over the first six months of 2022, which is 25 per cent less than in the same period last year, according to Statistics Netherlands.
Manufacturing and power plants in particular used less natural gas, falling by 30 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.
The drop in gas consumption coincides with changes in electricity generation.
In the second quarter (Q2) of 2022, electricity generation from coal increased by 40 per cent and from renewable sources by 25 per cent year on year. At the same time, 19 per cent less electricity was generated from natural gas.
Solar and wind power also showed strong increases, by 40 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, in Q2. The sunny weather and the increased installed solar panel capacity have both resulted in an increase in electricity generation by solar. Wind farms also increased their output due to both greater installed capacity of onshore turbines and favourable weather conditions.
The Dutch government has recently managed to fill the country’s gas storages to around 80 per cent of capacity, achieving the European Union (EU) target.
“It is good news that, despite the difficult circumstances, we have succeeded in filling our gas storages to more than 80 percent almost two months ahead of the European deadline,” Minister for Climate and Energy Policy Rob Jetten said.
Filling continues ahead of winter to avoid supply bottlenecks.
Earlier this week, the Eemshaven port in the northern province of Groningen inaugurated a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal comprising two floating units operated by Dutch energy network operator Gasunie.
The new terminal, together with an older LNG terminal in the port of Rotterdam, which has been expanded, has doubled the country’s LNG import capacity.
The Eemshaven floating terminal will convert LNG into gaseous form, which then can be fed into the national natural gas network or transported abroad.
This way the country can import an additional 8 bcm of gas.