News

Snowy turns 70 as a new generation writes its next chapter with Snowy 2.0

19/10/2019

Seventy years ago we started something many people thought was impossible. The first blast near the township of Adaminaby in New South Wales marked the start of Australia’s greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. 

The grit, mateship and expertise of more than 100,000 men and women turned a bold vision into a reality. It’s hard to imagine Australia today without the mighty Snowy Scheme. The legacy of the Snowy extends well beyond the dams, tunnels and hydro stations to the incredible people behind the power.   

Over the 25 years of construction, two thirds of the workforce came to Australia from war-torn Europe. They came to the Snowy in search of a better life and alongside the Aussies, helped build a nation. The Snowy Scheme is the birthplace of the culturally diverse society we know today, and with the Italians came one of the nation’s first espresso machines.

The project had its origins in the 1880s as a way to counter the disastrous effects of drought, by diverting the rivers of the Snowy Mountains westward to irrigate the fertile inland plains. Its hydro-electric power and irrigation water became the foundation of our modern economy.

The Snowy Scheme was one of the first renewable energy projects and continues to keep the lights on at times of peak energy demand.

Over the years, Snowy Hydro has grown into a dynamic energy company and remains a key pillar of the energy market, providing reliable and affordable renewable energy to households and businesses across the Eastern States.

In our 70th year, Snowy’s role in the energy market is more relevant than ever and we’re looking ahead to the next 100 years as we embark on our new chapter with Snowy 2.0.

As Australia moves to a low-carbon economy, there is a critical need for large-scale storage capacity and on-demand generation. Snowy 2.0 is the largest committed renewable energy project in Australia and will underpin the nation’s secure and stable transition to a low carbon emissions future at the lowest cost for consumers.

As we did many years ago, we are facing energy market challenges and Snowy 2.0 is a big part of the solution. As we reflect on the past, we’re building for the future. That’s the power of Snowy. 

News

Statement on some of the incorrect claims made about Snowy 2.0

16/10/2019

Snowy 2.0 is a project that is an investment for the next 100 years, that will keep Australia’s lights on, keep power prices down, and ensure Australia can make a secure transition to a clean energy future.

We note that the National Parks Association report is not an independent analysis, but just a set of random and unfounded assertions which ignore the true facts about this project.

Since construction began 70 years ago – which will be celebrated this Saturday – Snowy has provided the modern foundations of Australia’s economy, and the Snowy 2.0 project will be a bedrock for economic confidence in the future.

During that time we have been responsible environmental operators in Kosciuszko National Park and will continue to do so.

The facts are that only 0.01% of the national park will be permanently impacted by this project – or less than 1 square kilometre – of the park.

As our business and employees work and live in this area, we are committed to rehabilitating the areas affected by the Snowy 2.0 construction.

We also reject any claims that there have been cost over-runs on this project, or wild figures being promoted about the total cost of Snowy 2.0.

Our projected capital costs remain within the 2017 Feasibility Study cost of $3.8 billion to $4.5 billion and this was affirmed at the Final Investment Decision in December 2018 by Snowy Hydro’s Board, independent advisor Macquarie Capital, two government departments, Finance and Energy, and their independent advisor Lazard.

It is a falsehood to suggest transmission costs are an added cost to the Snowy 2.0 project as these are shared services used by the power industry, with the new upgraded capacity being essential in managing summer peak demand and transporting wind and solar to market.

We strongly reject any argument that Snowy 2.0 is not in the national interest. It has demonstrable economic and consumer benefits that have been independently valued at $4.4 to $6.8 billion.

News

Local and global experts to build Snowy 2.0

05/04/2019

Today Snowy Hydro Limited has achieved another significant milestone for Snowy 2.0 by appointing Future Generation Joint Venture as its main contractor. Snowy 2.0, a world-leading pumped-hydro expansion project, together with the mighty Snowy Scheme, will underpin Australia’s transition to a renewable energy future.

Future Generation is a joint venture between Clough, an Australian construction and engineering company, Salini Impregilo, a global hydropower and tunnelling specialist, and Lane.

The Engineer, Procure and Construct (EPC) contract signed today with Future Generation is consistent with the terms set out in the extensive, publicly-released Final Investment Decision information pack.

Under the single wrapped EPC contract, Future Generation will lead the civil works and Voith Hydro will deliver the latest hydro-generation technology in the new underground power station.

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 welcomes planning approval for Snowy 2.0 Exploratory Works

11/02/2019

Snowy Hydro welcomes the New South Wales Government’s planning approval for Snowy 2.0 Exploratory Works today. The decision, which follows a rigorous environmental and planning assessment process, is another significant milestone in progressing the project.

Snowy Hydro hopes to commence work for Snowy 2.0 soon, subject to Shareholder approval from the Federal Government.

Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said NSW Government’s support for Snowy 2.0 is critical for the security, affordability and reliability of the National Electricity Market (NEM) in the future.

“The mighty Snowy Scheme keeps the lights on across the National Electricity Market at times of peak demand today, and Snowy 2.0 will build on our existing capabilities.

“With more intermittent renewables coming online Snowy 2.0 will create an additional 2000 megawatts of on-demand energy generation and 175 hours of large-scale storage so households and businesses have energy when they need it most.

“Snowy 2.0 will deliver reliable energy at times of peak demand and can ‘fill the gaps’ by generating when wind and solar energy output is low.

“Snowy Hydro takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. We have a long and proven record of responsibly operating the Snowy Scheme within the national park and we will do everything possible to avoid or minimise impacts from construction of Snowy 2.0.

“Snowy Hydro will provide $10.5 million to offset any impacts from the Exploratory Works,” he said.

The NSW Government, which is responsible for allocating the offsets, has made the commitment that Snowy 2.0 offsets will be used by National Parks and Wildlife Service to support local environmental and recreational initiatives in Kosciuszko National Park.

Exploratory Works involve excavating an exploratory tunnel to gain a greater understanding of the underground geological conditions at the proposed location of the new Snowy 2.0 power station. The works also include upgrades and establishment of access roads, establishment of a construction compound and supporting infrastructure, and other activities.

Almost 50 years ago, exploratory tunnels were constructed for both Tumut 1 and Tumut 2 power stations, the two underground stations in the Snowy Scheme.

Snowy 2.0 will create jobs and economic opportunities across the Snowy Mountains – already more than 50 local businesses have been involved in the project.

In March 2018, Snowy 2.0 was declared NSW Critical State Significant Infrastructure, which provided a clear and well established framework for the project’s planning and environmental approval requirements.

An Environmental Impact Statement for Snowy 2.0 Main Works will be submitted to the NSW Government later this year.

For more information about Snowy 2.0, please visit snowyhydro.com.au.

News

Snowy Hydro appoints preferred tenderers for Snowy 2.0

18/01/2019

Snowy Hydro has appointed Australian and global experts in construction, engineering and hydropower as preferred tenderers for the Snowy 2.0 project, following extensive competitive tender processes over the last 18 months.

The preferred tenderer for the civil works is Future Generation, a partnership between Australian construction and engineering company, Clough, and global hydropower and tunnelling specialists, Salini Impregilo.

World leader in hydropower engineering and equipment supply, Voith Hydro is the preferred electrical and mechanical tenderer and will deliver the latest hydro-generation technology in the new power station.

Australian company Leed Engineering has also been awarded the contract for exploratory works pre-construction activities.

Contracts are currently being finalised, with contract execution subject to Shareholder approval of the project.

This is another important step towards the commencement of the project. Snowy 2.0 is a world-leading pumped-hydro project that, with the existing Snowy Scheme, will underpin the stability of the energy market as more renewable energy enters the system.

News

Snowy 2.0 approved by the Board

12/12/2018

Today, the independent Board of Snowy Hydro Limited approved a final investment decision to proceed with Snowy 2.0, subject to Shareholder approval.

Snowy 2.0 is a pumped-hydro expansion of the existing Snowy Scheme, providing 2000 megawatts (MW) of on-demand generation and 350,000MW hours of large-scale energy storage.

After almost two years of rigorous due diligence on every aspect of the Project, including detailed financial analysis and ongoing geotechnical drilling, the Board is confident Snowy 2.0 is a strong investment for the Company.

The Board has informed the Shareholder of its decision to proceed with Snowy 2.0 subject to Shareholder approval. Further Project information will be released following Shareholder approval.

Find out more about Snowy 2.0 here.

News

Snowy 2.0 Declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure

09/03/2018

Snowy Hydro welcomes the New South Wales Government’s decision to declare Snowy 2.0 as a Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) project.

The declaration signifies the critical role that the Snowy 2.0 project, together with the upgrades to the NSW transmission network, will play in providing reliable energy and large-scale storage to NSW as we transition to a low emissions economy.

Snowy 2.0’s generation and large-scale storage capabilities, along with the existing Snowy Scheme, will continue to underpin the stability and reliability of the NEM as more intermittent renewables enter the market.

The CSSI declaration is not final approval for the project.  It is a framework that sets out the robust environmental assessment and approval process that is required for the Snowy 2.0 project.

Paul Broad, CEO of Snowy Hydro said that the CSSI declaration gives the company a very clear and transparent process to follow.

“Like any other project, we are preparing comprehensive Environmental Impact Statements which will include a range of scientific and technical studies to be carefully scrutinised by the NSW Government.

“We have the greatest respect for the Kosciuszko National Park. It’s  our backyard and for almost 70 years we have been excellent responsible environment managers operating the existing Scheme across the region.

“The project’s design is being done in a way that minimises its environmental footprint.  This includes putting the majority of the physical structures, such as tunnels and the powerstation deep underground”, Mr Broad said.

The EIS will detail the components of the project, the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of Snowy 2.0 and how to best manage them.  As part of the EIS, we will undertake thorough community consultation so that the wider community can have input into the process. The EIS will also be published for public comment.

Under the CSSI process and in accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Snowy Hydro will submit an EIS for assessment by the Department of Planning and Environment, in consultation with other key agencies such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Environment Protection Agency.  

News

Good business makes good business: The Case for Snowy 2.0

10/01/2018

The National Electricity Market (NEM) has long been an outstanding example of Australia’s microeconomic reform. It brought much needed competition to an industry once dominated by inefficient, state-run enterprises.

Snowy Hydro has been at the heart of this market, with volatility being the key driver of value for our business.

Our unique portfolio of fast start generation assets and large storages allows us to generate at times of peak demand, provide cap contracts insuring retailers against price volatility, and “time-shift” surplus, low price energy to high price/demand periods. We also underpin system security through synchronous generation and strong inertia capability.

Snowy 2.0 is an expansion of what we already do.  It is not new or unique. The concept of expanding our pumped storage capability has been around since the 1960s. The growth of baseload power negated its viability, but the economics are changing rapidly.

As intermittent renewables grow, the market will experience greater volatility and uncertainty. The Australian Energy Market Operator confirms this trend as we move to a lower emissions future.

Snowy Hydro has witnessed this first hand, with increased demand for cap contracts in recent times.  As it’s often said, when the wind doesn’t blow or sun doesn’t shine, how you fill the gaps forms the cornerstone of a secure, reliable and affordable NEM. In fact, filling in gaps has always been a key role of Snowy Hydro. As renewables increase, the need for our services will increase exponentially.

All independent analyses show that large scale storage is paramount to a lower emissions future. Snowy 2.0 will deliver 350,000MWh of storage to consumers at lowest cost. In fact, the project’s economics blow the alternatives out of the water. If Snowy 2.0 wasn’t built, the alternative would be a combination of batteries and open-cycle gas plants, costing at least twice as much and resulting in higher prices for consumers.

Some commentators have mistakenly sought to model Snowy 2.0 on today’s NEM, rather than the NEM we see coming. The future NEM, dominated by renewables, will require significant flexible peaking generation and storage. Snowy 2.0 will come online from 2024 at precisely the right time to fill the gaps and stabilise the market.

Snowy Hydro is already the leading provider of cap contracts. Increased market volatility, together with Snowy 2.0’s unrivalled storage capability, will allow us to expand our product offerings. These include insurance ‘floors’ and ‘collars’ (providing price certainty for wind and solar) and seasonal ‘energy exchange’ products. This will enhance long term energy security.

Snowy Hydro’s ability to provide ancillary services, critical for system security, will also increase to meet the demands of the future NEM.

As for claims that the economics don’t stack up – I refute them categorically.  Snowy 2.0 can be funded off our balance sheet, while delivering a healthy internal rate of return of 8%.

While historically we have not often used our pumping capability, we’re progressively pumping more and will be at capacity when Snowy 2.0 comes online. In fact, our analysis shows that future storage demand will surpass Snowy 2.0’s capacity from 2031, when we can again deliver by expanding the Scheme using the same reservoirs as Snowy 2.0, to benefit future generations.

The scale, complexity and challenging geology of Snowy 2.0 requires a significant investment. Like any major infrastructure project, it is not without risk. To mitigate these risks, we have handpicked a team of world experts as partners on the feasibility study and beyond as we finalise the project’s precise technical requirements.

Finally, to suggest Snowy Hydro isn’t paying for transmission is misleading.  The capital costs for Snowy 2.0 provide for the cost of the project’s transmission connection, that is, the lines connecting our assets to the wider shared network.  The shared transmission network is common infrastructure used by all generators, with Snowy Hydro being only one and in fact the most infrequent user today, given we only generate at peak times.

The transmission network was built decades ago around coal, and the ideal zones for renewables are not in the same locations. The shared network needs a major upgrade to cater for renewables growth as new projects – again one of which is Snowy 2.0 – come online. The suggestion that Snowy Hydro pay for the entirety of these upgrades is misplaced.

At Snowy Hydro, our financial track record speaks for itself. We conduct rigorous forensic analysis of all investment opportunities and apply stringent hurdles to ensure the best outcomes for our shareholders. Our independent Board exercises the highest levels of scrutiny in assessing investment decisions.

Our feasibility study demonstrated the sound economics of Snowy 2.0.  As we move towards a final investment decision late this year, our discipline will not waver. Our shareholders, and the energy industry, would expect nothing less.

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 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.

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