Labour wants end to Groningen gas exports in earthquake debate
Coalition party PvdA wants to stop exporting gas from Groningen as quickly as possible. The party wants to keep the gas in the Netherlands and use it as the "engine" behind the development of green technology and as a "spare battery" for green energy, because wind and sun can not provide a continuous flow of energy, parliamentarian Jan Vos said to the Volkskrant. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is debating the future of Groningen gas extraction on Tuesday. This year 27 billion cubic meters of gas will be extracted, half of the gas production in 2013. The reduction is a response to the increasing number and severity of fracking earthquakes. Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs wants to reduce the gas extraction even further, but argues that this isn't possible due to long-term gas supply contracts with Belgium, France and Germany. Exports to Germany will be phased out from 2020 and to Belgium and France from 2024. The PvdA, and a majority in the Kamer, thinks that Kamp is not being ambitious enough, according to the newspaper. "He has to see the reduction of gas extraction, intended to reduce earthquake risk, much more as an opportunity to a fully sustainable energy supply", Vos said to the newspaper, adding that exports to Belgium, France and Germany can stop much sooner. "The cabinet must enter negotiations with those countries about that." VVD parliamentarian Andre Bosman told NU that Vos' plan is missing "due diligence". "It's an easy story to tell that exports can be reduced. Behind those contracts are hundreds of thousands of households dependent on that gas", he said.