Gas is dead, long live wind power! The formula is a little reductive but it sums up well the new chapter in the energy history of the Netherlands. At the same time, the authorities approved the closure of the Groningen fossil deposit, the largest in Europe, and inaugurated the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm.
On Friday, King Willem-Alexander traveled to the shores of the North Sea, between the towns of Scheveningen and Zandvoort, where the 139 turbines – located 25 kilometers from the coast on average – will soon power a basin of 1.5 million homes. The facility is jointly owned by Swedish energy company Vattenfall, German chemist Basf and fellow insurer Allianz. The Scandinavian group, which is responsible for the operation, now has a portfolio of thirteen offshore wind farms in five countries in Europe.
In Groningen, a page is turning. Production began in 1963, just sixty years ago. The reserves are not exhausted, but for two decades, low-magnitude earthquakes have been recorded at regular intervals.
In addition to the damage, public concern continues to increase. It will not decrease anytime soon because experts have warned: the end of extraction does not mean the end of seismic tremors, at least not for many years. In the meantime, a small number of production units will be maintained for a few more months in Groningen, to cope with a possible gas shortage in the event of a harsh winter.