Gas companies determine to a large extent the research agenda of the New Energy Coalition in Groningen, a multi-million dollar initiative to investigate sustainable energy in the region, reports Follow The Money (FTM) on Saturday.

The subsidy turnover of the project amounts to 100 million euros between 2018 and 2020.

The New Energy Coalition (NEC) is a collaboration between the three northern provinces, the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen and the business community.

Nevertheless, according to the FTM study, the coalition board consists mainly of representatives from the gas industry, such as NAM, GasTerra and Gasunie.

This gives gas companies the main voice in determining the science agenda of the NEC. This current research agenda is primarily focused on natural gas and CO2 storage.

These are applications that focus on the existing gas infrastructure, without there appearing to be much attention for more sustainable structures.

Also, the new hydrogen projects, which the gas companies did not want to start earlier, mainly use the variant generated from natural gas. While there is also the possibility to switch to a more sustainable and green form of hydrogen.

According to FTM, students and former stakeholders had already raised the alarm about the lack of balance in the energy coalition.