Dutch energy consumption sinks to 50-year low

Energy consumption by fuel type

The Dutch are using less energy, with gas and electricity consumption per head of the population back at the level of 1970, new figures from statistics agency CBS show.

In total, the Dutch used 154 gigajoules of energy last year, compared with 173 gigajoules in 2022.

Energy use per head of the population has been declining since 2013 because of improved insulation in homes and cars using less fuel. Warmer winters have also played a part, the CBS said.

Last year, energy prices soared because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and this too spurred people to better insulate their homes and cut gas and electricity use in general.

Up to 2018, some 90% of the energy used in the Netherlands came from fossil fuels but this has now fallen to 83%, the CBS said.

As of this month, the Dutch have also stopped pumping up gas from under Groningen province, increasing reliance on energy sources from abroad. In 2022, the Netherlands has not been so dependent on foreign sources of fuel since 1906 when coal mining started in Limburg, the CBS said.

Since the Slochteren gas field was opened in 1963 the Dutch state has earned €360 billion from gas extraction, with another €66 billion split between energy giants Shell and ExxonMobil.

But the cost to the community was high: more than 1,600 earthquakes have hit the region since the 1980s, damaging 85,000 buildings. The turning point was a quake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale in the village of Huizinge in 2012.

Since then production has been cut from 54 billion cubic metres per year to just 3.6 billion cubic metres last year.

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