Tunnelling works set to begin on massive Snowy 2.0 project

Monica Gameng   |   March 28, 2021
Tantangara Dam (cr: Snowy Hydro)

The first of three massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) has arrived on site and is getting ready to start digging, marking a new major milestone on Australia's largest renewable energy project, the Snowy 2.0 project. 

The TBM has been named ‘Lady Eileen Hudson’ after the wife of Sir William Hudson, the inaugural Scheme Commissioner. The Lady Eileen Hudson TBM will be excavating the 2.6-kilometre main access tunnel for Snowy 2.0, which will provide access to the underground power station cavern. 

“The commissioning of the Lady Eileen Hudson TBM is an important milestone for the project and it's great to see the cutterhead rotate. Tunnelling operations will soon be underway around-the-clock at Lobs Hole, building about 40km of tunnels needed for the project,” Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said. 

Once the Lady Eileen Hudson TBM completes digging the main access tunnel, it will then be relaunched underground to excavate the 7.9-kilometre tailrace tunnel towards the Talbingo Reservoir intake. 

Snowy 2.0 will expand the existing Snowy Scheme, delivering a secure and stable renewable energy source. 

The entire Snowy 2.0 development is expected to generate up to 4,000 direct jobs over the life of the project and thousands more throughout supply chains as well as support services. 

“There are huge economic multiplier effects from our Snowy 2.0 investment, with almost a billion dollars already spent in Australia and more than $55 million with 150 Snowy Mountains businesses. 

“Snowy 2.0 is critical for the energy market and consumers, and will provide on-demand energy and large-scale storage to underpin Australia's transition to renewables,” Mr Broad said. 

SH1249_Snowy-2_0-Cross-section-graphic_v8_B-RGBProject concept (source: Snowy Hydro)

The Snowy 2.0 project will include linking the two existing Snowy Scheme reservoirs – Tantangara and Talbigo – with 27-kilometre waterway tunnels and the delivery of an underground power station with six pump-turbines. 

The first power generation from Snowy 2.0 is expected in early-2025, which will then be followed by a progressing commissioning of its six generating units. 

Once fully operational, Snowy 2.0 is anticipated to provide an additional 2,000MW of dispatchable, on-demand green power along with about 350,000MWh of storage to the National Electricity Market (NEM). 

Source: Snowy Hydro (1, 2, 3); Infrastructure MagazineThe Sydney Morning Herald 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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