Snowy 2.0, Australia’s largest ever renewable energy project, has passed a key construction milestone with commissioning underway for the first giant tunnel-boring machine (TBM).
The project involves the linking of the Tantangara and Talbingo dams through a 27km underground tunnel and building a new underground power station.
Once completed, it will provide flexible, on-demand power while reusing and recycling the water in a closed loop through a mechanism that will pump water to the higher dam when demand for energy is low, and then release water to generate energy when the demand is high.
The TBM, which will excavate the 2.6km main access tunnel for the project and provide access to the site of the underground power station cavern, is the first of three that will eventually be working on the project, which will significantly expand pumped-hydro electricity generation from the iconic Snowy Mountains Scheme.
The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor attended the commissioning at Lobs Hole in the Snowy Mountains.
“The commissioning of the first TBM marks a major achievement for Snowy 2.0. This machine will dig out about 16 metres of rock each day, and will eventually provide critical access to the site of the power station, 800 metres underground,” Minister Taylor said.
He said Snowy 2.0 is expected to create over 4000 direct jobs, and numerous indirect jobs as the benefits impact the local businesses and the broader region.
“The project has seen significant ramping up of activity over the last year, and it’s already creating a jobs boom, with a current workforce of 1,000 people and an expected 4,000 direct jobs over the life of the project,” the Minister stated.
“This is also creating an economic ripple effect in the region, with more than 150 Snowy Mountains businesses to date delivering local content for this historic project, with flow-on indirect jobs and benefits across the region.
The Federal Government has committed up to $1.38 billion in equity for Snowy 2.0, with project proponent Snowy Hydro funding the remainder of the project.
The project 2.0 is expected to be progressively commissioned from 2025.