Snowy Hydro is celebrating the completion of excavation for its first tunnel for Snowy 2.0, with the Lady Eileen Hudson tunnel boring machine (TBM) reaching the location of the new underground power station cavern.
The 11-metre diameter TBM has excavated 2.85km to create the main access tunnel at Lobs Hole in the Snowy Mountains, where a workforce of more than 2,200 people are building Snowy 2.0 – the 2,000 megawatt pumped hydro expansion of the mighty Snowy Scheme.
Snowy Hydro acting CEO Roger Whitby said the tunnelling achievement was a significant milestone, with Snowy 2.0 set to underpin the nation’s transition to renewables.
“Snowy 2.0 will not only provide on-demand, quick-start generating capacity for the National Electricity Market (NEM), but a massive 350,000 gigawatt hours of energy storage,” Mr Whitby said.
“This is our first new major tunnel excavation in decades, since construction of the original Scheme, and it gives us access to the site where we will create the enormous cavern 800m underground that will house our power station.
“The TBM Lady Eileen Hudson and our teams from Snowy Hydro and contractor Future Generation Joint Venture have done a great job to complete this critical tunnelling task.
“However, there’s no slowing down. Work across the project continues to move ahead rapidly and this tunnel boring machine is now being dismantled so it can be moved to the Talbingo adit where it will be reassembled with some new components for excavation of the 6km tailrace tunnel.”
While dismantling of the TBM conveyor belt gets underway in the main access tunnel, drill and blast activities are ongoing to excavate cross passages and tunnels to gain access to the power station complex, which will include a 251m-long, 52m-high machine hall cavern and 223m-long, 46m-high transformer hall cavern.
The new work fronts associated with the powerhouse will create further employment opportunities on this clean energy mega-project.
The Snowy 2.0 project will link Tantangara Reservoir (top storage) with Talbingo Reservoir (bottom storage) through 27km of tunnels and a power station with pumping capabilities.
This will enable water to be released for energy generation at times of peak demand and then pumped back to the top storage when there is excess renewable energy in the system, ready to generate again.
Main access tunnel fast facts:
- 10 metres in diameter
- Lined with 1,422 concrete rings installed by the TBM
- Rings comprise 12,798 individual segments manufactured locally in Cooma
- Has four cross-passages linking it to the adjacent emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel
- Also has four cross tunnels and a turning bay to facilitate construction access around the power station complex
- Provides pedestrian and vehicle access into the power station