Covering an area of 37,290km2, the Netherlands boasts a population of 15.45M. Average annual precipitation in the country is 760mm/year, while per capita domestic water consumption is 150 litres/day in rural areas.

Primary energy consumption in the country is currently about 60,000GWh, representing per capita consumption of 3750kWh/year. Over the next decade, energy consumption and electricity demand is expected to increase by about 2%.

Samenwerkende Elektriciteits-Produktiebedrijven (SEP), the Dutch Electricity Generating Board, is effectively in charge of the power sector, including the national grid. This means therefore, that the national grid is completely owned by the State – privatisation of the distribution grid is on hold.

Electricity production in the country is liberalised, and there are four power producers: Reliant, Preussag, Electrobel and Essent. The main distributors are: Eneco, Nuon, Essent, Remu and Delta Nuts. The country’s state-owned electricity network consists of: Tennet and regional distributors.

About 5% of the hydro capacity in The Netherlands is privately owned, with the two main companies generating hydro being Essent (10MW) and Nuon (20MW).

The gross theoretical hydro power potential is 700GWh/year, with the technically feasible potential at 200GWh/year and the economically feasible potential at 130GWh/year. However, so far, the country’s hydro capacity is about 38MW, which generates on average only about 60GWh/year.

The country is home to 10 dams, three on the Rhine river and seven on the Meuse. There are five hydro plants in operation: Alphen (14MW), Linne (12MW), Maurik (10MW), Hagestein (1.8MW) and Roermond (250kW).

A small hydro power potential of 135GWh/year exists, but production in the country is currently only at 50% of this.

In 2001, the Minister of Economic Affairs withdrew the support of governmental subsidies for hydro power projects, preventing further hydro development in the country for now.