Hydroelectric station in Hezenbergerstuw, The Netherlands © Waterschap Veluwe

Hydraulic power


Hydraulic power is the most commonly used of all renewable resources worldwide. All other renewable resources combined generate only a fraction of the amount of electricity produced by hydraulic power. At a glance, the potential role of hydraulic power in the Netherlands appears minor, owing to the absence of natural elevation differences. At present, four mid-sized hydraulic power stations exist in the Netherlands, which together generate but a few percentage points of the total sustainable electricity produced in the country. However, some new developments have emerged.

Near Hattem in the Veluwe, the Apeldoorn Canal runs into the Oude Grift. The drop is 2.5 metres. When the original weir was renovated, the opportunity presented itself to realise a compact hydraulic power station with an output of 150MWh/A, enough to fulfil the electricity needs of around 50 homes. Small hydraulic power stations like this are well-suited for use in urban areas. However, only a few suitable locations exist in the Netherlands. [Frederiks, 2010] [Waterschap Veluwe, 2011]

Large hydraulic power plants with an output of 4-132MW produce electricity at a price varying between €560/kW and €760/kW. Small hydraulic power stations, of up to 1MW, cost between €4000/kW and €6000/kW. [Erhorn-Kluttig et al., 2011]

Dam of the tidal power plant on the estuary of the Rance River, Bretagne, France © Dani 7C3, Wikipedia, August 2004