Dutch demand for natural gas will increase further in the coming years if more houses have to be heated electrically and when the use of electric cars increases. This conclusion is drawn by Machiel Mulder and José Luis Moraga González of the University of Groningen in a new study commissioned by the Center on Regulation in Europe.
According to the researchers, the various measures aimed at reducing the demand for natural gas will result in a substantial increase in electricity consumption. And because the coal-fired power plants have to close and no new nuclear plants will be added in the short term, the consequence will be that much more electricity will be generated using natural gas.
Insufficient capacity for sustainable energy
The researchers concluded that the ambitious objective in the area of renewable energy using wind and solar power is far from sufficient to meet the growing demand for electricity. At the same time, neighboring countries are faced with the same energy issue, so there is little spare capacity to import additional electricity from abroad.
The expectation is that the demand for natural gas in the Netherlands will continue to increase until 2030. Even in 2050, there will be a substantial use of this energy source, estimated at a domestic demand of around 30 billion cubic meters per year, compared to the current demand of 40 billion cubic meters.
More dependency on gas imports
At the same time, production in Groningen will decrease further, which means that the Netherlands will become more dependent on natural gas from abroad over the next few decades. This demand can be somewhat reduced using heating networks, whereby the residual heat from heavy industry is being used to heat houses and offices. This technology can result in a 20% reduction in the domestic demand for natural gas, according to the researchers.