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The next generation of hydropower in Australia


Snowy 2.0 Pumped Storage Project



Snowy 2.0 is the next generation of the iconic Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme, and construction of this major pumped-hydro project is well underway.

Once complete, the Scheme will provide 2,000 megawatts of dispatchable, on-demand renewable energy and approximately 350,000 megawatt hours of large-scale storage.

Leading international hydropower planning and design

From a technical and engineering perspective, this project is at the forefront of international hydropower technology and design, attracting input and interest from global specialists across a range of fields. Snowy 2.0 also presents geographical and environmental challenges due to its remoteness and alpine location within (and below) the Kosciuszko National Park.

Following the successful approval of the project, SMEC’s technical specialists have been engaged as the Owner’s Team for Snowy Hydro Ltd, providing technical advice from internationally recognised specialists and engineering support to help deliver this iconic and innovative renewable energy scheme.

Geotechnical report model revolutionising construction risk sharing

The Snowy 2.0 project site is situated within a complex alpine geological and hydrogeological area. This presents significant geotechnical uncertainties for construction, making it difficult to accurately predict construction time and costs.

At Snowy Hydro’s request, SMEC’s tunneling and geotechnical specialists developed an innovative ‘balanced’ Geotechnical Baseline Report (GBR) which was incorporated into the construction contract. The GBR sets out geotechnical risk-allocation mechanisms with an aim for fair and balanced allocation of geotechnical risks between the owner of the project and the contractor. Successful implementation of this ‘balanced’ risk sharing structure could be a game-changer for the Australian infrastructure industry, lowering project costs by alleviating some of the complexities of project implementation and risks.

Unrivalled scale and complexity

Snowy 2.0 can only be described as monumental when considering the project scope, complexity and ambition. The project includes 27 km of waterway tunnels connecting two existing reservoirs, Tantangara and Talbingo. This allows the scheme to utilise approximately 700 m of head difference by transferring water through the waterway tunnels and the six 340 MW reversible pump-turbines of the underground power station located approximately 750 m below ground.

“With construction well under way, we are enjoying seeing all our hard work and planning coming to life,” says Andreas Neumaier, SMEC’s Chief Technical Principal – Hydropower. “As one of the world’s most iconic hydroelectric projects, the next few years of construction are going to be monumental. It is a privilege and pleasure to contribute and be a part of Snowy 2.0”.