Energy consumption in the Netherlands was nearly 7 percent lower in 2011 than in 2010. This is mainly due to the mild winter, the lower electricity production level and the reduced production level in the petrochemical industry. The consumption of motor fuels by the transport sector still grew marginally.
Energy consumption by energy source
Lower natural gas consumption due to mild winter and economic crisis
The natural gas consumption in 2011 was nearly 13 percent down from the cold winter of 2010. Without the effects of the mild winter, the consumption of natural gas dropped by nearly 6 percent, partly due to the economic downturn by the end of 2011. Oil consumption by the petrochemical industry – where the base material for plastic products is produced – fell by 10 percent. The petrochemical industry is always quick to respond to economic ups and downs.
Energy consumption, annual change
Motor fuel consumption higher in transport sector
The consumption of motor fuels by the transport sector grew by 1 percent in 2011, partly due to the growth, despite soaring motor fuel prices, in the transport sector in 2011. Coal consumption declined marginally in 2011, in particular in power stations. The consumption of other energy sources, e.g. renewable energy, nuclear energy and waste remained stable.
Less natural gas used for electricity generation
The amount of electricity imported in 2011 grew substantially. Apparently, it was cheaper to import electricity than to generate electricity in the Netherlands. As a result, the amount of electricity generated in the Netherlands has declined over the last year. The volume of natural gas required to produce electricity and heat has indeed shrunk. Power stations running on natural gas have also become more efficient compared to the obsolete power stations which were recently closed down.
Natural gas consumption by use (adjusted for degree days)
Otto Swertz and Jan Kloots