News

NEW LEASE ON LIFE FOR MURRAY 1 TRANSFORMERS

04/04/2022

Snowy Hydro is carrying out a large project to refurbish the Murray 1 Power Station generator step-up transformers, a process that will significantly extend the life of these important Snowy Scheme assets.

Reconditioning and replacement of the bushings will help to increase the lifespan of the transformers by an extra 15 years. Under normal conditions, transformers are expected to operate for 30 to 40 years, but thanks to the thorough effort Snowy puts into maintaining its assets, the Murray 1 Power Station transformers will operate for many years to come – an amazing achievement. 

There have been a number of obstacles to overcome during the course of this project, including road closures along the Alpine Way due to natural incidents, weather extremes in the Snowy Mountains, and above all, COVID-19 and the closing of the border between New South Wales and Victoria. 

Murray 1 is located near Khancoban and Wilson Transformer Company (WTC), based in Melbourne, which was hired to do some of the important work, navigated a six-week   government approval process to cross the border from Victoria to work on the refurbishment through the pandemic.

WTC manufactured a purpose-built dry out tank at its Glen Waverley factory specifically for this major Snowy Hydro project.

The tank is utilised after the team has de-tanked the core and coils – which are then both put inside the dry-out tank. The team completes welding works and modification of the old transformer tank and lid, before re-tanking the unit into the original body.

There are two more Murray 1 transformer refurbishments and bushing replacements remaining, with the last scheduled to be completed in November 2022.

So far, the project has been highly successful, with approximately 100 workers involved, and no safety concerns or injuries. Snowy Hydro appreciates all those contributing to this project for prioritising safety and health above everything else. 

In addition, Snowy Hydro and WTC have worked with many local businesses in the construction, including electrical contractors PHE and Roddy Engineering, both based in Tumut, NSW.

News

Keeping the lights on for generations to come

26/02/2019

At Snowy, we have a proud history and a strong vision. Snowy Hydro, supercharged by Snowy 2.0, will underpin Australia’s renewable energy future and keep the lights on for generations to come.

Almost 70 years after the first sod was turned on the mighty Snowy Scheme, we will do it all again. Today, after consideration of our Board’s Final Investment Decision, we welcome Shareholder approval of Snowy 2.0.

“It’s an exciting time for our Company,” Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said. “Snowy 2.0, like the original Snowy Scheme, is a nation building project that is vital to Australia’s economy and our energy transition.

“This significant expansion of the Snowy Scheme will provide the storage and on-demand generation needed to balance the growth of wind and solar power and the retirement of Australia’s ageing fleet of thermal power stations. In short, it will keep our energy system secure.

“Snowy 2.0 is not only a sound business investment for Snowy Hydro with over 8% return on investment. It also represents the most cost-effective way to ensure a reliable, clean power system for the future.

“When it is completed, Snowy 2.0 will be able to deliver 2000MW of on-demand generation, up to 175 hours of storage, and deliver more competition that will keep downward pressure on prices.

“We are committed to continuing to grow our portfolio of assets, to maximise competition in the National Electricity Market (NEM) and deliver more value to consumers,” Mr Broad said.

Last year Snowy Hydro contracted 888 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar projects which gave us incredible insights into energy pricing. This process confirmed many of the assumptions of Snowy 2.0’s business case, including that the National Electricity Market (NEM) has passed a tipping point. New renewables are now the most economic form of new generation, even when firmed by hydro or gas.

Snowy Hydro existing fast-start assets, and increased capacity with Snowy 2.0, will firm up large amounts of intermittent renewables by coming in and out of the system to ‘fill the gaps’ by generating energy at times of peak demand.

Snowy Hydro has a strong track record when it comes to pumped-hydro. For decades we’ve been successfully operating our pumping capability at Tumut 3 and that has been invaluable, especially in years of drought.

Snowy Hydro is the fourth-largest energy player in the NEM, providing much-needed competition in the market. Snowy 2.0, along with other developments, is adding to a portfolio that operates efficiently and reliably in a highly unpredictable NEM to maximise competition and drive the best outcomes for consumers.

Snowy 2.0 Exploratory Works will start immediately. The project is expected to generate up to 5000 jobs over the life of the project.

News

Snowy Hydro signs game-changing deals

01/11/2018

Snowy Hydro announced the signing of eight wind and solar contracts today to provide cheaper energy to 500,000 households.

The eight projects, totalling 888 megawatts (MW), are located across New South Wales and Victoria and are expected to generate about 2.8 terawatt hours of energy annually.

The new renewable energy generation, ‘firmed’ by existing Snowy Hydro assets, is a game-changer and will push down future energy prices. This will bring on significant new energy supply and therefore much-needed competition to the market, and will enable Snowy Hydro to pass on lower wholesale prices to our customers.

The renewable energy we have contracted will enable Snowy Hydro to offer very competitive, firm wholesale prices (ie. the cost of the raw renewable energy plus the cost of ‘firming’) – for below $70/MWh for a flat load, for up to 15 years.

Snowy Hydro is a key provider of fast-start, “capacity”-type products, and we keep the lights on at times of high demand. However, we are ‘energy short’ (meaning that we do not generate enough energy from own power stations to cover all of our customers) so we have to purchase energy from the wholesale market. We are one of the largest energy buyers in the NEM and, just like households, we are exposed to high wholesale prices.

Over the last 12 months, there have been rapid changes in the NEM and competitive pricing across all generation technologies has seen the cost of renewables fall.

Snowy Hydro was overwhelmed with the level of interest in our Renewable Energy Procurement Program, which saw more than 17,600MW of projects submitted through the procurement process. All eight winning projects are expected to come online within the next two years.

Snowy Hydro’s existing hydro, gas and diesel assets give us the ability to ‘firm’ up vast amounts of intermittent renewable generation today to ensure energy is available when needed.

In simple terms, ‘firming’ works by transforming intermittent energy into reliable energy so it’s available on-demand when a customer needs it. While the energy output of individual projects varies, Snowy Hydro’s power stations can work in combination with wind and solar, creating ‘firm’ reliable energy.

Snowy Hydro owns Red Energy and Lumo Energy, which together have more than one million customers.

News

Snowy 2.0 Feasibility Study Delivered

20/12/2017

Snowy Hydro’s independent Board of Directors has approved the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study, and for further work to be undertaken for the project to progress to a final investment decision in 2018.

The feasibility study released today confirms that the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro expansion project is both technically and financially feasible.  The comprehensive study provides a base case design and a strong investment case that exceeds Snowy Hydro’s stringent investment hurdles, with significant input from leading experts in economics, engineering and geology.

Snowy Hydro’s CEO, Paul Broad, said that progressing Snowy 2.0 was a strategic business decision and the projected return on investment would enable the company to fund the project.

“Snowy Hydro already plays a critical role in keeping the lights on but Snowy 2.0 would supercharge our existing capabilities by adding an additional 2,000 megawatts of dispatchable generation and 350,000 megawatt hours of large-scale storage.

“Snowy 2.0 will underpin the security and reliability of the National Electricity Market (NEM) as we transition to a low emissions future, at least cost to consumers.

“As coal-fired generation retires and renewables continue to grow, Snowy 2.0’s scale and central location will provide secure and reliable energy generation and the necessary large-scale storage to prevent blackouts and lower future energy prices.

“Snowy 2.0 is a strategic long-term investment in the NEM that will firm up future wind and solar generation.  Intermittent renewables underpinned by Snowy 2.0 is a combination that could replace baseload generation when coal-fired power stations retire,” Mr Broad said.

The feasibility study outlines:

  • A strong investment case for the project and funding strategies.
  • A base case technical design, to be further refined as the project moves to final investment decision.
  • The independent estimation of costs between $3.8 – $4.5 billion, which takes into account the need for extensive reinforcement of the project’s structures due to the challenging geological conditions that were uncovered during the geotechnical drilling program.
  • If Snowy 2.0 is not built, the NEM would need a combination of batteries and gas peaking stations to meet future energy needs.  This would cost at least twice as much as Snowy 2.0.
  • A project schedule that will see the first power generated from Snowy 2.0 in late 2024, in time to meet market needs.

“Completing this study is a significant and exciting milestone for us but it’s only just the beginning. The sheer size of Snowy 2.0 makes it a complex and significant project that will put the Snowy Mountains back in the global spotlight,” Mr Broad said.

Between now and final investment decision, Snowy Hydro will undertake further work including additional geotechnical drilling, issuing project tenders, finalising funding for the project and working through well established and rigorous environmental and planning approval processes.

The project will also boost economic activity across the Snowy Mountains from employment opportunities across the supply chain and in supporting services.

Snowy Hydro would like to acknowledge the work of our lead study engineer SMEC Australia and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for their contributions to the study.

The feasibility study and more information on the project can be found on our website here.

To watch a video on the project click here.

News

Snowy’s highest power station to reach new heights

10/11/2017

Snowy Hydro, working with Andritz Hydro, is about to commence detailed design work for the replacement of the generator in unit one at Guthega Power Station. After more than 60 years of reliable operation this is the first time any generator across the Snowy Scheme has needed to be replaced.

The generator is connected to the turbine and is the part of the machine that converts the power produced by the spinning turbine into electrical energy for consumers. This project is certainly not your average flat pack. The generator will be assembled from thousands of individual pieces and weighing in at 230 tonnes it will need specialised trucks and trailers to get it on site.

Paul Broad, CEO of Snowy Hydro said this $13 million replacement project was the latest example of the company’s strategic investment in the Snowy Scheme.

“It’s not just Guthega Power Station we’re investing in. We have a thorough asset maintenance and modernisation program that upgrades our power stations and the water infrastructure across the Snowy Scheme.

“We’ve undertaken asset improvements that have actually increased the Scheme’s total generation capacity”.

“We’ve also implemented new technologies that allow us to start our generators faster, respond more quickly to changing market conditions and run our power stations remotely through our central control centre”, Mr Broad said.

The new generator will have a higher design rating (40 megawatts) than the existing unit to match the previously upgraded turbine. Every generator across the Scheme can be used independently and therefore each unit wears differently and is replaced based on its condition rather than age.

After undertaking a competitive tender process Snowy Hydro appointed Andritz Hydro to undertake the design, fabrication, install and commissioning of the generator. Andritz Hydro is a global supplier of electromechanical systems and services for hydropower plants and hydraulic power generation. The detailed design process and unit fabrication is expected to take around 12 months.

The Guthega Power Station houses two 30MW hydro-electric generating units and was the first power station built with construction starting in 1951. It’s on the Snowy River, just 12 kilometres from the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and sitting at 1330 metres above sea level, it is the highest power station in the Snowy Scheme.

Media contact: Stephanie McKew – General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Media 0409 298 757

News

Snowy 2.0 activities adjacent to the Snowy Mountains Highway

03/08/2017

Over the coming weeks there will activities conducted as part of the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study adjacent to the Snowy Mountains Highway, about 12km north of Kiandra.

This work includes preparing for and undertaking investigative geotechnical drilling and you may see some trucks in and around the area.

At times there will be work on both sides of the highway and activity will be underway both during the day and at night.

The work involves drilling small core holes so we can better understand the rock underneath and inform the feasibility study. Approvals for the work was provided by National Parks and Wildlife Services after Snowy Hydro conducted a thorough environmental assessment.

Snowy Hydro takes safety very seriously and drivers are asked to exercise caution in the area. A traffic management plan will also be in place although we expect the any impacts on traffic to be minimal.

More information about the Snowy 2.0 project can be found here.

News

Visitors in Cooma ahead of drilling for Snowy 2.0 commencing

28/06/2017

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Parliamentary Secretary Bronnie Taylor visited Cooma today ahead of investigative drilling commencing for Snowy 2.0.

Snowy Hydro Limited CEO Paul Broad and Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) CEO Andy Goodwin provided a Snowy 2.0 update and showcased one of the drill rigs.

Mr Broad said the investigative drilling, which is expected to commence next month after all approvals, is a critical milestone for the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study.

“The drilling will provide us with detailed geotechnical information about the rock formations, strength and structure of the area where the tunnels between the Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs and underground power station will be located.”

“The core holes will be drilled in key locations so that we have a very clear picture of the geology and can better plan and cost the project.” Mr Broad said.

The geotechnical information collected through this process will be shared with research and education institutions for science and research purposes.

The Prime Minister, Deputy Premier and Parliamentary Secretary’s visit was also an opportunity for Snowy Hydro and SMEC to bring together their local project teams to celebrate the reopening of the SMEC office in Cooma.

SMEC’s CEO Andy Goodwin said the reopening of their Cooma office and work on the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study will continue to generate economic activity in the region.

“It’s great to be working on such a iconic hydropower project with Snowy Hydro that reflects on our namesake and history. For SMEC this is an opportunity to bring back our local people with global experience to contribute to the legacy for the next generation.

“The Feasibility Study will generate more than 250 jobs across professional services, construction and administrative support and if Snowy 2.0 goes ahead we expect to create about 5000 jobs over the life of the build,” Mr Goodwin said.

The Snowy 2.0 Feasibility Study will be completed by the end of this year.

Snowy Hydro is proud to provide secure, stable and reliable renewable energy to households and businesses. If built, Snowy 2.0 would increase the generation capacity by up to 50 per cent, making up to 2000 megawatts available to the National Electricity Market.

News

Snowy Hydro welcomes Finkel Review

09/06/2017

Snowy Hydro Limited welcomes the support of the Finkel Review of pumped hydro as a key to energy security as it focuses on recommendations aimed at strengthening reliability in the National Electricity Market.

Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said the Snowy 2.0 project would play a key role in both ensuring security of supply and backing up the expected big increase in intermittent supplies – wind and power – in the market.

The report states on p33 that “Battery and pumped hydro storage will be able to support a reliable and secure NEM, as and when they are deployed at scale.”

Mr Broad said the Finkel Review had identified the need to guarantee back-up to any new intermittent power supply projects.

“Snowy 2.0 fulfils the objectives of the Finkel Review on energy security, in that it can uniquely provide the largest scale and affordable storage of renewable energy to support the reliable and secure power supply that is needed for Australia to move safely to a low emissions economy”, Mr Broad said.

“The Finkel review rightly points to the importance of pumped hydro as an essential back-up to intermittent wind and power to protect consumers and business, and ensure we don’t face the catastrophic supply failures that we have seen in South Australia.”

Snowy Hydro also supports market-based mechanisms to achieve the Government’s commitment to climate change targets, as well as stable and long term policy certainty. We will be actively engaging with relevant bodies to implement policies which best meet the energy trilemma of market efficiency, energy security and emission reductions.

Snowy Hydro Media Enquiries:

Simon Troeth

0439 300 335

e: Simon.Troeth@newgatecomms.com.au

www.snowyhydro.com.au

News

Expanding Pumped Hydro Storage

15/03/2017

The iconic Snowy Scheme’s role as the battery of the National Electricity Market (NEM) could be supercharged as part of plans to expand the pumped hydro storage capability within the Scheme.
Snowy Hydro, working with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will shortly commence a feasibility study into several sites across the Scheme which could support new large-scale, pumped hydro-electric energy storage.

The proposal could add up to 2000 megawatts of new renewable energy to the NEM and act as rapid response back-up to fill the gaps in energy supply caused by intermittent renewables and generator outages.

The pumped hydro capability means the water utilised for electricity generation can be recycled to give continuous supply when it’s needed most, with no impact on the Scheme’s ability to continue to supply valuable water to irrigators in the food bowl of Australia.

Snowy Hydro Managing Director and CEO, Paul Broad, said the proposal has the potential to deliver an innovative clean-energy solution to the critical security and supply issues in the NEM, helping to take the pressure off power prices for consumers and businesses, while reducing emissions.

“From our earliest days, Snowy Hydro has been moving water to support the irrigators in the food bowl of Australia and generating electricity during peak demands to keep the lights on in the NEM,” Mr Broad, said.

“The creators of the Scheme foresaw a time when its capabilities may need to be expanded and, as a result, there are very real options in-built in the Scheme’s design to extract more value to the community.

“At a time when the security and stability of the NEM, energy affordability and emissions reduction are under scrutiny, there is an opportunity to leverage the iconic Snowy Scheme to once again deliver an energy solution for the country.

“By supercharging the utilisation of the Snowy Scheme’s storage, we can help the NEM best cope with peak demand through new supply at a time when baseload energy is exiting the market and renewables with intermittent generation are not providing the reliable capacity needed by Australian businesses and consumers.

“While the feasibility study is the first step, this project could once again bring together the world’s best and brightest engineers and technicians to enhance a national icon.”

The Scheme itself already operates as the ‘battery storage’ of the NEM, utilising dams to store energy in the form of water that can be delivered to the grid within minutes through the fast start capabilities of the Scheme’s nine power stations.

There are a number of sites across the Scheme capable of supercharging Snowy Hydro’s storage capability – providing additional generation capacity, helping the security and stability of the NEM, and with pumping capability to maximise the water resources and existing dam storage in the Scheme.  The most prospective project could increase the capacity of the 4100 megawatt Snowy Scheme by 50 per cent and result in a power station at least as powerful as Snowy Hydro’s 1800 megawatt Tumut 3 Power Station, which already includes pumped hydro capability.

The feasibility study will explore the physical, technical and environmental requirements for expansion of pumped hydro at sites across the Scheme, the potential output of new pumped hydro facilities and the costs associated with each project.

The Australian Government, through ARENA, is negotiating grant funding to support the Snowy Hydro feasibility work as part of ARENA’s ongoing efforts to accelerate Australia’s shift to renewable energy.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said expanding the Snowy Scheme could help to deliver ARENA’s goal of ensuring a smooth transition to a renewable energy future.

“Australia’s energy system is rapidly evolving and ARENA is funding solutions like pumped hydro storage that provide consumers with more affordable and reliable renewable energy,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Pumped hydro is economically viable right now and supports our grids by providing long term energy storage capacity that’s available on demand.”

News

SA Solar Investment

01/02/2017

Snowy Hydro Limited will invest in a battery ready 100 megawatt solar facility in Tailem Bend in South Australia to boost its generation capacity and grow its electricity retail business – Lumo Energy.

By entering into a long-term agreement with experienced renewable energy investor and developer Equis, Snowy Hydro will be able to access 100 megawatts of renewable solar generation on completion of the solar farm in 2018, with the ability to install up to 100 megawatts of large-scale battery storage on the Tailem Bend site.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Snowy Hydro to source renewable generation in South Australia to complement our existing capacity,” Snowy Hydro CEO and Managing Director Paul Broad said.

“The solar farm represents a significant, strategic investment in South Australia by Snowy Hydro and demonstrates our commitment to growing both our generation business and our Lumo Energy business, which services around 50,000 electricity customers in the State.

“We are pleased to be working with Equis to deliver more renewable energy to South Australia, backed by reliable fast-start thermal capacity. Importantly, this unique generation facility at Tailem Bend is also ‘battery ready’ with the ability to install up to 100 megawatts of large-scale battery storage on the site.”

David Russell, CEO of Equis, said: “As Asia’s largest renewable energy developer and investor, the Tailem Bend solar project represents an exciting expansion into Australia for Equis and an unique opportunity to leverage our development and construction expertise to deliver large scale, reliable renewable energy for Australian consumers.

“We are delighted to partner Snowy Hydro on the Tailem Bend solar project to build one of Australia’s lowest cost solar generation projects with a unique “battery-storage ready” design, further enhancing the project’s long term attractiveness as a stable, low cost source of power.”

Snowy Hydro currently owns and operates 5500 megawatts of generation capacity across Australia, including the iconic 4100 megawatt Snowy Hydro-electric Scheme in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW.

The Tailem Bend project will mean Snowy Hydro has access to 264 megawatts of generation capacity in South Australia. The company already operates 136 megawatts of thermal capacity at Port Stanvac and Angaston and will add a further 28 megawatts of diesel generation at the Tailem Bend site from 2017.

“We combine the power of the mighty Snowy Scheme with gas and diesel fired peaking generators to deliver a flexible and reliable mix of energy to our growing customer base every day,” Mr Broad said.

“We have been keeping the lights on in NSW and Victoria since construction days in the 1950s and are one of the most experienced and diverse companies operating in the National Electricity Market.

“Through our award winning retail companies – Red Energy and Lumo Energy – Snowy Hydro services more than one million gas and electricity customer accounts. We pride ourselves on superior customer service and look forward to growing our Lumo Energy retail customer base in South Australia.”

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