The discovery of a large natural gas field in 1959 has made the Netherlands highly dependent on natural gas as an energy source. The extraction of natural gas does however cause soil subsidence and earthquakes, mostly in the province of Groningen. Furthermore, the consumption of natural gas contributes to climate change. This shows there is a need for a transition towards more sustainable energy sources. The reliance on a depleting fossil fuel also makes a change inevitable. A transition like this will be reflected in the landscape, as the provision of renewable energy is expected to occupy a substantial part of the physical environment. Energy transitions have happened before and have often been linear developments, ending in disrupted and abandoned landscapes. This thesis tends to find out how a transition towards renewable energy sources can be made while preventing the origination of abandoned landscapes.
The main research question “How can the current natural gas production dominated energy landscape be recycled when production of natural gas diminishes in the near future?” is addressed in three parts. First a content analysis on the social and political aspects of the natural gas extraction was conducted along with a physical analysis. A deep understanding of the life- cycle of the natural gas production landscape was derived from this. Second, the municipality of Menterwolde was analysed. Future developments and trends were identified. Furthermore, the future energy demand was estimated and the potentials for renewable energy were mapped. This resulted in designs for sustainable energy landscapes based on landscape types identified. Third, a design for a natural gas extraction facility was made. The concept of recycling was applied in order to capture the history of the site. Artefacts of the natural gas extraction proved to have cultural value in the design.