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Gas Supply Disruption Force EU Government to Support Gas Fields, Experts not Supportive of the Projects

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Photo Credit: Stuart Conway/ Photographic Services

Diverse species can be found on the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog, which also has several beautiful beaches. The 10-mile-long island is home to over 300 different species of birds, drawing millions of tourists each year. It is regarded as one of the most picturesque locations in the Netherlands.

However, a new project is underway, which has raised concerns among the island’s authorities. A partnership between the government of Germany and the Netherlands has signed an agreement for the development of gas fields 20 kilometers off the coast of Schiermonninkoog.

The mayor Schiermonninkoog felt unsure of the effects of the gas fields. “We are very concerned that the gas drilling will damage the area. We also believe that there is no need to drill [for] new gas at all and that we should invest much more in renewable energy,” Mayor Ineke van Gent said.

Following gas supply shortages following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the project marks another step taken by European countries to address the issue. The gas field developments will extend throughout the German-Dutch territory.

The move demonstrates the European nations’ desperation to replenish their gas reserves in the absence of supplies from Moscow. The plan was launched despite the EU’s promise to reduce gas consumption by 15% by March 2023.

A huge decrease in supply, coupled with an increase in demand, could potentially lead to a rise in prices. Furthermore, it can lead to blackouts and high utility bills.

However, scientists and environmental activists are skeptical of the project. They said the war between Ukraine and Russia was just a political cover used by governments to launch projects that would end up causing hardship in winter and worsening the effects of climate change.

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The gas field will begin supplying gas in 2024, and the permit won’t run out until 2042. The environment would suffer more harm as a result.

“In principle, we need to get rid of all the fossil fuels, and we need to get rid of them very fast,” said Han Dolman, the director of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. “It’s not an immediate solution to anything [related to] the Russian gas crisis,” added Dolman.

Since 2018, ONE-Dyas, the company spearheading the project, said that its research team has conducted sufficient research and has consulted with experts and stakeholders. They claimed that locally produced gas has a lower carbon footprint than imported gas.

Europe needs more supply of gas

Since European countries expressed support for Ukraine during the war, Russia has imposed supply cuts. Gazprom, a state-owned company, has reduced its daily supply contribution by 20%.

The International Energy Agency’s executive director, Faith Birol, called the situation “perilous” and warned businesses and residents that this winter would be “long and hard.”

In addition, the IEA said there would still be a supply crisis next year if Russia halted deliveries. That would still be true even if European countries filled 90% of their gas silos.

The condition has forced countries to find solutions by sourcing alternative fuel sources and preserving their existing supplies.

Even with zero-carbon emission pledges, the government was forced to support the gas sector in order to generate an independent gas supply. Simply put, the situation demanded desperate measures.

“We’re turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now,” stated the secretary of the UK Business and Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng.

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Others, though, are against the initiative. According to Tara Connolly, a campaigner with the Brussels-based Global Witness, once the projects are finished, they will not be needed anymore.

“Just before Ukraine, there was really a sense that Europe had enough gas infrastructure, even in the event of significant disruption. Now it’s really a different picture,” she said.

The mayor of Schiermonnikoog stated that because the region is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is her responsibility to protect it.

“My main concern is [the] sinking of the soil, which means that we also have problems with living on the water,” she said.

Source: CNN

Based in LA, Alice Blake is a senior reporter for Kivo Daily. She primarily covers entrepreneurs.

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