Risk mitigation and investability of a U-PHS project in the Netherlands

Gert Jan Kramer, Twan Arts, Janos L. Urai, Han Vrijling, Jan M.H. Huynen

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We review the status of a 1.4 GW, 8 GWh underground pumped hydro storage (U-PHS) project in the southern Netherlands, which has been under development since the 1980s. Its history shows how the prospect of a large-scale U-PHS for The Netherlands (a country whose proverbial flatness prohibits PHS) has been attractive in every decade, based on proven technology in a subsurface location with validated properties, and solid analysis of its economics. Although the ongoing energy transition clearly requires massive electricity storage, (U-)PHS projects are challenging investment propositions, in The Netherlands, as elsewhere. This case study illustrates a point of general relevance, namely that although the project execution risk, related to uncertainty with respect to subsurface integrity, is very low, the transition risk, associated with the intrinsic uncertainties of an electricity system in transition, is significant. We point out mitigation strategies for both risk categories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5072
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Electric grid stabilization
  • Electricity storage
  • Energy transition
  • Pumped hydro storage
  • Regional economic development
  • Renewable energy


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