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Europe Undone

Anti-Russian sanctions backfire with an energy crisis

In 2021, Russia supplied about 40% of the EU's gas. In 2022, after European leaders imposed sanctions on Russian energy sources, it immediately led to price hikes with a knock-on effect on European standards of living. People are affected by consumer goods prices increasing more than 3 times, while being almost unable to pay their heating bills. Both citizens and authorities of different levels are looking for ways to replace Russian gas supplies by alternative energy sources. Are there any good options?

European leaders hope that the Groningen gas field, which is among the largest fields in the North Sea, will allow them to substitute the energy decrease in volume. In 2022, the Netherlands’ government increased gas production in the field instead of closing it as was originally planned. Though its exploitation has resulted in more than a thousand earthquakes in the field over the past 30 years. Moreover, their magnitude and frequency increases from year to year.

Locals are demanding that the government close the site and shut down the field, but so far their efforts have been unsuccessful. ‘The seismology service admits that the damage and subsidence is caused by gas extraction, but as seismic activity is too low, they won’t compensate us ,' says farmer Rixt Vellinga. Her house and outlying buildings are cracked, some blocks have separated from the side walls and cows in the farm are getting sick due to tremors. However, Rixt continues farming with the use of solar panels, wind turbines and even heat emitted during the milking process. But why for now there is no eco-friendly option to substitute Russian gas?