News

HAVE YOUR SAY: SNOWY HYDRO LAUNCHES COMMUNITY INSIGHTS CAMPAIGN 

05/04/2024

Snowy Hydro is launching a community insights campaign to better understand the social impacts of the Snowy 2.0 project.

The campaign seeks to engage and connect with community members across south-eastern NSW to gather insights, opinions, and experiences related to Snowy Hydro operations and the Snowy 2.0 project.

Through an online survey available at www.snowyhydro.com.au/haveyoursay, we invite residents, stakeholders, and interested parties to share their perspectives and help shape the future of their communities. A series of focus groups, one-on-one meetings, phone surveys and community pop-up stalls will support the online survey.

“This campaign reiterates Snowy Hydro’s commitment to transparent and inclusive community engagement,” said Snowy Hydro CEO Dennis Barnes. 

“We value the input of our community members and recognise the importance of understanding their needs and concerns.”

The survey, which will be open until 5 May 2024, covers a range of topics, including community sentiment, perceptions of the Snowy 2.0 project, and suggestions for improving Snowy Hydro’s community engagement efforts. Participation is open to individuals aged 18 and above who reside or own property in the Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Towong, Bega Valley and surrounding local government areas.

“We encourage you to take part in this survey and contribute to the dialogue surrounding the Snowy 2.0 project and its impact on our communities,” added Mr Barnes. 

“Your feedback will be important in informing Snowy Hydro’s social impact strategy and community engagement initiatives.”

Throughout April, Snowy Hydro representatives will engage with stakeholders in key regional towns, fostering open conversations about Snowy Hydro’s operations and future priorities. The consolidation of survey findings is planned for June 2024, with a publication of key results expected in July 2024.

For more information or to participate in the survey, please visit www.snowyhydro.com.au/haveyoursay.

Additionally, feedback or inquiries can be directed to Snowy Hydro via phone at 1800 623 776 or email at community@snowyhydro.com.au

News

SNOWY 2.0 PROJECT UPDATE – MARCH 2024 

03/04/2024

This month we’ll update you on tunnel boring machine (TBM) Kirsten, which is putting Snowy 2.0 at the forefront of TBM tunnelling innovation, along with the unique concrete segments she will install as part of the inclined pressure shaft excavation and lining.

Damon Miller, Senior Engineering & Quality Manager for Snowy 2.0, works with the design, manufacturing and construction teams to plan and deliver the engineering solutions behind Snowy 2.0, the pumped hydro expansion of the Snowy Scheme.

Building the inclined pressure shaft (IPS) will be a unique and technically challenging engineering feat for the project team

After finishing the 2.9 kilometre Emergency Cable and Ventilation Tunnel, TBM Kirsten has been substantially modified for her next critical role excavating the IPS.

This very steep, 1.6 kilometre, 10 metre diameter shaft forms part of the waterway and will connect the headrace tunnel with the underground power station. 

Project director Dave Evans believes the specially manufactured segments being used for this shaft are going to change the world of hydropower. “It means we can do less steel lining, we can move power stations closer to the surface which is what we’ve done here and construct an inclined pressure shaft with a tunnel boring machine which all makes it safer, quicker and the quality a lot better.”

To see the latest Snowy 2.0 project statistics, view the fact sheet here.

To cope with the extreme and fluctuating water pressures in the IPS, the concrete segment rings lining the tunnel require bespoke connectors.

The Force Activated Coupling System or FACS are specially-developed steel couplers with pin and socket elements.

When the segment rings are interlocked, the pre-stressed FACS keep the joint closed when the tunnel experiences sharp changes in pressure from turbine operations and shut downs. It’s like water hammer when opening or closing a tap at home, just on a much larger scale.

This new technology has been developed by Future Generation joint venture partner Webuild and their designer Lombardi, with the FACS segments being manufactured at our precast factory in Cooma.

A large-scale test is being conducted by installing eight FACS rings to link the emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel with the IPS.

Meanwhile, innovative design by the leading TBM manufacturer Herrenknecht has allowed TBM Kirsten to be modified to safely tunnel uphill.

The machine’s working platforms, equipment and operator’s cabins all pivot to remain horizontal and the walkways become steps and ladderways. 

A screw conveyor will move excavated rock from the cutterhead. This feeds into a sandwich conveyor that has face-to-face rubber belts to hold the material so it can be transported down the steep slope without spillage.

The IPS is on a 47% incline so a monorail is being installed to transport workers and there is a rack and pinion system for multi-service vehicle access including segment delivery up the steep slope to the TBM.

News

BREAKTHROUGH MILESTONE FOR SNOWY 2.0

05/01/2024

Snowy Hydro is pleased to announce another major achievement for the Snowy 2.0 pumped-hydro project, with the breakthrough of the final three metres of the power station’s 223-metre long transformer hall cavern crown.

The Snowy 2.0 delivery team began excavating the transformer hall and machine hall caverns in June 2023. The Snowy 2.0 power station will be located approximately 800m underground at Lobs Hole in the Snowy Mountains. When completed, the machine hall will be 251 metres long and 52 metres high and the transformer hall 223 metres long and 46 metres high. Together they will form one of the largest and deepest caverns in the world, big enough to fit the Sydney Opera House inside. 

Precise drill and blast methods are used to profile the curved cavern crowns (or ceilings) and break up the rock, which is mucked out and followed by surface scaling to remove any remaining loose rock. The exposed solid rock face is then supported with rock bolts and shotcrete. The excavation sequence of the cavern crowns is carefully planned and executed, as the rock mass relaxes and moves inwards as the excavated void increases. These movements are expected and are closely monitored during the process.

So far, about 17,000 cubic metres of material has been excavated from the central heading of the transformer hall cavern crown. The heading has been advanced in 3-4 metre rounds from either end of the cavern for a total of 77 blasts.

The machine hall cavern crown breakthrough will take place in coming weeks, and widening of both cavern crowns, known as side slashing, is ongoing and planned for completion in coming months. Excavation of both power station caverns is set to continue through 2024. 

The breakthrough of the transformer hall cavern crown represents another important milestone for the Snowy 2.0 pumped-hydro project that will significantly expand the existing Snowy Scheme and will provide an added 2,200 megawatts of on-demand power and 160 hours of large-scale renewable energy storage for the National Electricity Market.

Snowy Hydro CEO Dennis Barnes said: “The breakthrough of the transformer hall cavern crown is a really pleasing milestone for the Snowy 2.0 team, reinforcing that we’re making good progress with our underground drill and blast excavation activities. We are well on our way to delivering the largest single project that will help ensure Australia’s secure and reliable transition to renewable energy.”

News

SNOWY 2.0 PROJECT UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2023

05/10/2023

Following the recent announcement of the Snowy 2.0 project reset, the Snowy Hydro and Future Generation contractor teams are now a single team, working in close collaboration to achieve full commercial operation by December 2028.

The Snowy 2.0 Project Team is focused on excellent environmental outcomes while maintaining all-important safety principles. Safety is the number one priority for Snowy Hydro and core to the company’s values. High expectations for the management of all safety risks extend across the Snowy 2.0 project, without compromise.

Snowy 2.0 is critical to Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy and when complete it will have broad-scale environmental benefits. Consistent with its responsible operation of the Snowy Scheme in Kosciuszko National Park for almost 70 years, Snowy Hydro is equally committed to minimising potential impacts from Snowy 2.0.

SAFETY PERFORMANCE
– As at September 2023, the project’s 12-month rolling TRIFR (Total Reportable Injury Frequency Rate) is 2.97, below the target of 4.0.**
– There has been a reduction in recordable and serious incidents on the project, with a focus on planning and a coordinated approach to safety management.
– Snowy 2.0 works closely with Comcare and SafeWork NSW and will continue to incorporate lessons learned and findings from the regulator into operational practices. 
**Calculated per million hours worked. Total hours worked to end September 2023: >17.7 million.

Construction of Snowy 2.0 will temporarily impact less than 0.1% of the park with any short-term unavoidable impacts rehabilitated throughout the project, in accordance with environmental project approvals. This includes around $100 million provided by Snowy Hydro to the offsets program for Kosciuszko National Park. Once operational, Snowy 2.0’s footprint within the park will be only 0.01%.

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
– 4 independent audits of the Snowy 2.0 project undertaken since project commencement. 
– 1,500 hours spent annually to proactively monitor the 163 biodiversity sites.
– More than 200 kilograms of native seed collected over three years for rehabilitation activities.
– 27 heritage site excavations and more than 35,00 indigenous artefacts salvaged and currently being documented, adding to the history of the Snowy Mountains Indigenous people. 

In this month’s update from the main worksite at Lobs Hole, Project Integration Manager Paul Smith recaps progress to date with over 40 per cent of Snowy 2.0 now complete, including:

  • Excavation of the 2.85 kilometre main access tunnel, lined with almost 13,000 locally manufactured concrete segments.
  • Excavation of the 2.9 kilometre emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel. 
  • Major upgrade of Ravine Road, the steep and winding 15 kilometre access road into Lobs Hole.
  • Infrastructure to support construction including the main yard workshops, worker campsites and more than 50 kilometres of access roads across three main worksites at Lobs Hole, Marica and Tantangara.

Excavation is underway of the huge 250 metre-long underground power station cavern and the tailrace tunnel, and TBM Kirsten is being modified to excavate the world-leading inclined pressure shaft. Drill and blast to create 11 cross passages and construction tunnels continues.

Above ground, there is plenty of activity across all sites. Lobs Hole Surface Works Project Manager Steve Lee helps ensure the Snowy 2.0 project is delivered in a safe and timely way, and to the quality standards and requirements of Snowy Hydro.

Surface works refers to a broad mix of activity such as haulage of spoil, maintenance of site roads, environmental controls, main yard area activity, office facilities and directional drilling, as well as the Talbingo intake build.

Latest progress on site includes Stage 2 earthworks with a recent blast covering an area of 4,500 square metres. About 10,000 cubic metres of material is being removed as the excavation of the 104-metre-high intake continues.

Snowy 2.0 is the largest renewable energy project under construction in Australia and will provide crucial deep storage central to Australia’s renewable transition. When complete, Snowy 2.0 will deliver 2,200 megawatts of dispatchable generation.

News

SECURING THE FUTURE OF CRITICAL ENERGY TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS

31/08/2023

Snowy Hydro today announced the outcomes of its major projects resets, for Snowy 2.0 and the Hunter Power Project. 

Snowy 2.0

  • Revised total cost to complete is $12 billion. At the end of June 2023, expenditure on the project was $4.3 billion, with 80% of these funds reinvested in the Australian economy. 
  • First power to be delivered in the second half of 2027 and a target date for commercial operation of all units of December 2028. 
  • The fixed-price EPC Contract was executed by Snowy Hydro and Future Generation Joint Venture (FGJV) following Final Investment Decision in a relatively benign and supportive environment.  The EPC Contract is no longer fit for purpose. 
  • Snowy Hydro and FGJV are finalising an amendment to the existing EPC Contract to move to an incentivised target cost contract model. Snowy Hydro will also settle all outstanding claims with FGJV. 
  • Delivery of an additional 200 MW or 10% capacity; bringing total capacity to 2,200 MW. 
  • Snowy 2.0 is the largest renewable energy project under construction in Australia and will provide crucial deep storage central to Australia’s renewable transition. 
  • The value of Snowy 2.0 to the national electricity market has increased materially since the Final Investment Decision in December 2018. 
  • Snowy 2.0 will provide 350,000 MWh of energy storage for 150 years. 
  • Snowy 2.0 remains value accretive, with the Company currently projecting a NPV of approximately $3 billion (based on a $12 billion revised target total cost and December 2028 delivery). 
  • Snowy Hydro is working closely with its Shareholder to develop an appropriate capital structure for the Company to support the increase in costs and to maintain the Company’s target credit rating of BBB+. 

HPP

  • The total target cost is now $950 million and will be funded by Snowy Hydro.
  • The project delivery remains December 2024. 
  • The project remains economically viable on a forward looking basis with the value of its firming capacity clearly demonstrated in the May/June 2022 energy crisis. 

Snowy Hydro CEO Dennis Barnes said the project resets will enable the commercially sustainable and successful delivery of both projects. 

“I am committed to ensuring these critically important projects are transparent and are placed on a robust and sustainable footing. Moving to an incentivised target model with FGJV will result in closer collaboration, stronger oversight and alignment of interests between Snowy Hydro and FGJV. ” Mr Barnes said. 

“Snowy 2.0 is being engineered to deliver clean and reliable storage and electricity generation for Australians for the next 150 years. It is a truly transformative national project that is generating jobs and significant investment in regional areas; it will deliver benefits immediately following its completion and will continue to do so for many future generations of Australians.

“Snowy 2.0 involves billions of dollars of investment, with approximately 80% going into Australian jobs, goods, services and skills. We are building the skills of local workers that can later be used elsewhere to assist in Australia’s ongoing energy transition.”   

“The Hunter Power Project is an important project in Australia’s energy transition, enabling the roll-out of wind and solar projects by firming these intermittent generation sources into reliable power,” Mr Barnes concluded.

Fact sheet 

Webuild Clough media statement

Background Information

Snowy Hydro today detailed the outcome of the review and reset process for key electricity projects, Snowy 2.0 and the Hunter Power Project.  

Snowy 2.0

The estimated total cost for Snowy 2.0 project delivery has been revised to $12 billion, with expenditure on the project to date of $4.3 billion. The terms of the contract with Future Generation Joint Venture (FGJV) are being finalised to move to an Incentivised Target Cost contract model, which will result in closer collaboration, stronger oversight and alignment of interests between Snowy Hydro and FGJV.  Snowy will also settle all outstanding claims with FGJV.

The target date for commercial operation of all units is December 2028 with first power to be delivered in the second half of 2027.

Through the project reset process Snowy Hydro has worked with FGJV and hydro technology contractor Voith Hydro to increase the capacity of the power station by 10%. Snowy 2.0 will now deliver dispatchable generation capacity of 2,200 MW, as well as providing energy storage of 350,000 MWh (or 160 hours of generation at maximum output). 

The cost revision reflects the compound effect of extraordinary factors. The external factors have impacted major projects around Australia and globally, in particular:

  • The major disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic; 
  • Delayed ability to mobilise, given critical shortages of skilled labour, exacerbated by quarantine and movement restrictions;
  • Extended and ongoing disruption to global shipping and supply chains caused by the pandemic, conflict and natural disasters, delaying access to key materials; 
  • Significant inflation in costs of key construction materials and inputs; and
  • Significant inflation in labour costs.  

In addition to the external factors, the project has been impacted by:

  • Design immaturity at final investment decision, with a number of design elements requiring more time to complete due to their technically complex nature. The final design now being more expensive to construct; and  
  • The impact of variable site and geological conditions, with the most impactful being the soft ground encountered that is delaying tunnel boring machine (TBM) Florence’s progress at Tantangara.

Despite the challenges outlined above, the project remains economic. Strong and growing market demand for dispatchable electricity is expected to underpin demand for the services provided by the project well into the future.

Construction of Snowy 2.0 is now approximately 40% complete and solid progress continues to be made, including:

  • Excavation of the main access and emergency cable and ventilation tunnels is now complete – approximately 6km of tunnelling;
  • Excavation on the 6km tailrace tunnel has commenced and tunnelling on the 1.45km inclined pressure shaft will commence shortly;
  • Work on the underground power station is now underway with access available from both ends and excavation and support of cavern crowns underway;   
  • Excavation at the Talbingo intake (where water will enter during pumping and exit during generation) is halfway complete, with 310,000m3 of earth excavated, while the first stage of earthworks at the Tantangara intake are complete, involving the movement of 205,000m3 of earth; and 
  • Manufacturing of the six pump turbines has commenced, the first major mechanical component has been shipped and has been transported to site.

Meanwhile, excavation of the headrace tunnel by TBM Florence is now ready to be continued, subject to the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

The project currently has a team of approximately 2,700 Australians dedicated to its safe and efficient delivery. An additional 1,500 jobs are forecast over the project’s lifespan.

Hunter Power Project

The Hunter Power Project has experienced similar challenges to Snowy 2.0 and following a comprehensive review the expected cost is now $950 million. Despite the increased cost the Hunter Power Project remains economic.

Construction continues to progress on schedule, with about 460 people working on the project, which remains on track to be delivered by December 2024.