Snowy 2.0

Progress

Snowy 2.0 timeline

2017
2026

Snowy 2.0 project announced

A proposal to expand the Snowy Scheme and deliver 2,000MW of generation and 350,000MW/h of large-scale storage was announced in early 2017.

The iconic Snowy Scheme’s role as the battery of the National Electricity Market (NEM) would be ‘supercharged’ as part of plans to expand its pumped-hydro storage capability.

It would provide a clean-energy solution to the critical security and supply issues in the NEM and recycle water utilised for electricity generation. In this way it would give continuous supply when at times of peak demand, with no impact on the Scheme’s water release obligations.

A feasibility study was commissioned to explore the physical, technical and environmental requirements for expansion of pumped-hydro at sites across the Scheme. The study also looked at the potential output of new facilities and the costs associated with the project. 

Geotechnical investigation program

An extensive core hole drilling program was carried out to collect data on rock types across the Snowy 2.0 alignment. This information was collated to inform the project’s feasibility study.

The rock samples – or cores – provided geologists with a solid understanding of the geological and hydrogeological conditions. The work also identified physical properties of the existing rock.

This geotechnical program is the key to developing a final, buildable design for the Snowy 2.0 underground tunnels and power station. 

Feasibility study released

The Snowy 2.0 Feasibility Study confirmed the project is technically and financially feasible.

The feasibility study also showed the key benefits of Snowy 2.0:
• System security and reliability – Snowy 2.0’s on-demand energy generation can respond within minutes to changing market needs
• Lower energy prices – wholesale energy costs will be lower with Snowy 2.0 in the market
• Scale and central location – power from Snowy 2.0 will reach all National Electricity Market (NEM) users, including the major load centres of Sydney and Melbourne
• Supporting renewables – Snowy 2.0 will enable a low emissions future at least cost by underpinning the stability of the NEM as more intermittent renewables enter the market

Final Investment Decision

The Snowy Hydro Board approved a Final Investment Decision to proceed with Snowy 2.0. Following almost two years of due diligence on every aspect of the project, the Board is confident Snowy 2.0 is a strong investment for Snowy Hydro. The comprehensive appraisal included detailed financial analysis and ongoing geotechnical drilling,

Exploratory Works approved

Approval for Snowy 2.0 Exploratory Works was granted by the NSW Government in February 2019.

The approval followed a rigorous planning and environmental planning assessment process.

Snowy Hydro committed to providing $10.5 million in offsets for any impacts associated with the Exploratory Works.

Activities approved as part of Exploratory Works included building new site access roads and upgrading other roads and tracks.

It also covered excavation of an exploratory tunnel down to the site of the underground power station cavern, establishment of a site compound and other site works.  

Project construction underway

Under early works contractor Leed Engineering, access road upgrades and other site preparation activities began at Lobs Hole.

Principal contractor appointed

Future Generation Joint Venture, a partnership between Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo), Clough and Lane, was appointed by Snowy Hydro to build Snowy 2.0. Future Generation is leading the civil works and subcontractor Voith Hydro will deliver the latest hydro-generation technology in the new underground power station.

Site works progress

Significant progress continued to be made at Lobs Hole.

Permanent bridges over the Yarrangobilly River and Wallace Creek were constructed to enable safe access and protect riverbanks.

Works to build the the exploratory (main access) tunnel portal and temporary accommodation camps were also underway.

Construction of segment factory

More than 130,000 concrete tunnel segments for Snowy 2.0 will be manufactured locally as part of Snowy 2.0. Construction of the Snowy 2.0 concrete segment factory at Polo Flat, Cooma, got underway following NSW Government planning approval in April 2020. Earthworks were followed by concrete pours for slabs. Shed frames were also installed, followed by cladding and roofing.

Main Works approvals granted

Planning and environmental approvals were received for Snowy 2.0 Main Works from both the NSW and Federal Governments. These approvals allow construction to start on the project’s underground power station, waterways and access tunnels, and other supporting infrastructure. It brings Snowy Hydro’s vision to become Australia’s biggest battery and storage for renewable energy one step closer. It also unlocks investment that will create thousands of jobs over the life of the project and provide a much-needed boost to the local and regional economy,

Construction power

The Lobs Hole substation is being built to power the tunnel boring machines and other construction activities. The substation will also power the accommodation camps. Two transformers are being installed, along with other equipment.

Tunnel boring machines

Components of the first tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have arrived in Australia and been transported to site. Three, 11m-diameter TBMs will excavate more than 30km of tunnels for Snowy 2.0. This includes the headrace and tailrace tunnels, the main access and emergency egress cable and ventilation tunnels, and the inclined pressure shaft.

Manufacturing of segments

The first precast concrete tunnel segments are expected to be produced at the Snowy 2.0 concrete segment factory by the end of 2020.

Once operational, the factory at Polo Flat, Cooma, will have an estimated annual turnover of $115 million and will create 125 jobs.

Tunnelling

Tunnelling for Snowy 2.0 is expected to start by the end of 2020.

The main access tunnel (MAT) will be excavated by one of three tunnel boring machines (TBMs).

The MAT will provide access to the power station cavern, about 800m below ground. 

Power station cavern

Excavation of the power station cavern is expected to begin in 2021. The Snowy 2.0 power station will be about 800m underground.

First power

The first power generation is expected in 2025, with progressive commissioning of Snowy 2.0’s six generating units.

Snowy 2.0 expected completion

When complete, Snowy 2.0 will deliver 2,000MW of on-demand energy generation and 350,000MW/h of large-scale storage for the National Electricity Market.

This is enough energy storage to power three million homes over the course of a week.

Snowy 2.0 project update video

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