Feasibility of pumped hydro energy storage in a river cascade - case study of the Meuse


  • Jan Willem Lambach Delft University of Technology
  • Jeremy Bricker
  • Miroslav Marence




Hydropower, Pumped Storage Power, Archimedean Screw, Meuse, River Cascade, The Netherlands


The Meuse river in the Netherlands has been made navigable  by the construction of a cascade of seven low head weirs. Because of environmental regulations, hydropower facilities exist at only two weirs. This implies the full hydropower potential of the Meuse cascade is not utilized. By using pump-turbines the river sections upstream of the weirs could be additionally usable as energy storage reservoirs and could improve and ensure river navigability under changed climate conditions.

The main goal of this study is to assess the possible utilization of the full energy storage- and hydropower potential of the Meuse cascade within Dutch environmental regulations. The novelty of this study is the evaluation of the concept of using canalized river sections for pumped-storage purposes within conditions of fluctuating discharge and -water levels throughout the year.

In order to meet the goal of the study the relatively fish-friendly Archimedean screw has been selected as pump-turbine. Next a conceptual design of a pumped-storage hydropower plant equipped with screws has been compiled. By using this design, the assessment of utilizing the hydropower- and energy storage potential of the cascade has been carried out by constructing and applying a numerical model.

The study shows it is possible to utilize the full hydropower- and the majority of the energy storage potential of the Meuse cascade. The cumulative installed turbine capacity for the cascade turns out to be 81 MW. The Annual Energy Yield (AEY) from regular hydropower alone is 225 GWh. In addition, the yearly surplus power that can be processed for energy storage purposes is 137.2 GWh, of which 77.2 GWh is returned to the grid by a round-trip efficiency of 56.25 %. In total 302.2 GWh can be delivered to the grid which can power up to 75.000 households. The specific cost is relatively high: roughly 15,000 euro/kW.

The method developed here can be applied to evaluate the storage- and hydropower potential of other canalized rivers as well, such as the upper Mississippi.


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How to Cite

Lambach, J. W., Bricker, J., & Marence, M. (2022). Feasibility of pumped hydro energy storage in a river cascade - case study of the Meuse. Journal of Coastal and Hydraulic Structures, 2. https://doi.org/10.48438/jchs.2022.0020