In May 2017, Snowy Hydro engaged SMEC to undertake the Feasibility Study of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme Expansion Project (Snowy 2.0).
Snowy 2.0 is the first major expansion of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme since its completion in 1974. A pumped-hydro expansion, Snowy 2.0 will supercharge existing generation and large-scale storage capabilities and will help to address power shortages and stabilise electricity supply in the future.
Snowy 2.0 will act like a giant battery by absorbing, storing and dispatching energy. Snowy 2.0 will pump water using electricity at times of low demand and store it in the upper reservoir. Then, when energy is needed most, the stored water will be used to generate and dispatch electricity within minutes. Pumping water at times of low demand means that Snowy 2.0 will have water ready to use for energy generation at times when consumers need it most.
Project scope will include linking the two existing reservoirs of Tantangara and Talbingo through approximately 27 km of underground tunnels. There will also be a new underground power station with pumping capabilities. Up to 2,000 MW of hydroelectric energy could be added to the grid to act as rapid response back-up during periods of high demand and fill the gaps in energy supply. The pumped hydro capability means the water utilised for electricity generation can be recycled to provide supply when it’s needed most.
In February 2019, Snowy 2.0 was officially approved with an investment of up to AAUD 1.38 billion from the Australian Federal Government. Snowy 2.0 will be the second largest pumped hydro project in the world, increasing generation capacity by 2000 MW and providing 175 hours of energy storage.
- Technical Area:
- Snowy Hydro
‘SMEC was the obvious choice to partner with us on the study, given we share the same DNA. It really is a case of getting the band back together.’
CEO Snowy Hydro
Snowy Hydro engaged SMEC to assist with the feasibility study of the proposed Snowy 2.0. As part of the feasibility study, SMEC designed 50 km of tunnels, produced a 1,500 page project report and 280 design drawings to a very tight timeframe.
In December 2017, Snowy Hydro 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 demonstrates that Snowy 2.0 is technically and financially feasible, will not have any impact on downstream water users and will go through robust planning and environmental approval processes. The study also identified a number of benefits, including system security and reliability and lower energy prices.
SMEC’s appointment has delivered significant benefits to the local Snowy Mountains community, with the reopening of our offices in Cooma. Hari Poologasundram, Chief Executive Officer ANZ commented “Snowy Mountains are part of our namesake and the backbone of our heritage, so the chance to be involved in this project again is a unique 'twice-in-a-lifetime' opportunity, both for our organisation and those engineers who worked on the original scheme. We're honoured to be part of the project and looking forward to resuming our presence within the Cooma community again."