I recently finished reading a publication from The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, entitled “The great Dutch gas transition”.
I believe it captures both the feelings towards and the reality of the situation being faced – the closer we look at the climate challenge, the more arduous the ascent to 2050 appears to be. The paper concludes, not unlike in the UK, that there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to what shape the energy transition will take. Equally there is a strong national focus, which would appear to show less concern for international developments and carbon leakage associated with imported fuels. At least in the UK, since the document was published, this appears to be a more widely acknowledged issue.
A standout conclusion was that the Netherlands appear to have embarked upon a complete phaseout of unabated natural gas consumption and production by 2050, except if converted to blue hydrogen first and only if coupled with CCS. In our mind, this push for blue hydrogen should be carefully reviewed, since we believe its production, which requires natural gas, would reduce energy efficiency and could actually produce more emissions than simple combustion for power generation. The fact that these CO2 emissions are ‘hidden’ behind a chemical process not currently recognised by climate targets, rather than combustion for power generation, is something that should be made clear both to the public and those behind such policies. Given what is at stake, exploiting loopholes should not even be considered.