Future Generation is a joint venture created specifically to build Snowy 2.0 on behalf of Snowy Hydro Limited. We bring the combined engineering expertise of three companies – Italy’s Salini Impregilo, Australian-based Clough and US-based Lane Construction. Our team’s pair local expertise with global experience.
Snowy 2.0 will supercharge the Snowy Scheme’s existing hydro-electric generation and large-scale storage capabilities. The fast-start, on-demand generation of pumped-hydro and Snowy 2.0’s massive storage capacity will be vital as more intermittent, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar come online and coal-fired power stations retire.
Snowy 2.0 will add 2,000 megawatts of energy generation and provide 175 hours of storage for the National Electricity Market (NEM), enough to ensure the stability and reliability of the system during prolonged weather events, such as wind or solar ‘droughts’. Snowy Hydro already plays a critical role in ensuring system stability and at times of peak demand, we keep the lights on. Snowy 2.0 will enhance our existing capability and ensure that we can continue to provide increased stability and security to the energy market well into the future.
The project links two existing Scheme dams, Tantangara and Talbingo, through tunnels and an underground power station with pumping capabilities. Hydro-power will be generated by falling water spinning Snowy 2.0’s giant reversible turbines, which can also pump water in the opposite direction. Snowy 2.0’s pumping capabilities work in a ‘closed’ system – water is recycled between the upper dam (Tantangara) and lower dam (Talbingo) so the same water can be used to generate power more than once, making the most of available water. Snowy Hydro already has pumped-hydro capabilities at the Tumut 3 Power Station – it is proven technology used across the world
The ability to store water and generate power on-demand means Snowy 2.0 can be ‘switched on’ very quickly. Snowy 2.0 will pump water using the excess electricity in the system at times of low demand. Then, when energy is needed most, the stored water will be used to generate electricity within minutes.
For example, if the wind is blowing in the middle of the night when consumers are asleep, Snowy 2.0 can use the wind energy to pump and then store the water in the upper dam. When households wake up and the demand for energy soars, Snowy 2.0 can quickly generate energy for the grid. The first power produced from Snowy 2.0 is expected in late 2024-25, with progressive commissioning on the six units. Snowy 2.0’s operating life is expected to be consistent with the Snowy Scheme’s existing assets, which continue to operate reliably many decades after installation.
BUILDING SNOWY 2.0
The project will involve underground excavation and tunneling works between Tantangara and Talbingo dams to depths of up to one kilometre. There will be surface works in several locations including intake-outlet structures at Talbingo and Tantangara dams, surge shafts and tunnel portal sites. A number of supporting works are also required, such as establishing or upgrading access roads, and electricity connections to construction sites.
About 27km of power waterway tunnels will be constructed to link Tantangara and Talbingo dams. The tunnels are about 10m in diameter and entirely concrete-lined to ensure construction safety, operational longevity and low maintenance. Intake and outlet structures will be constructed at both dams.
The power station complex will be located approximately 800m underground. Two main caverns will be excavated:
- Machine hall – approx. 240m (long) x 50m (high) x 30m (wide).
- Transformer hall – approx. 200m (long) x 50m (high) x 20m (wide).
Six galleries run between the two halls and carry cables that connect the generators with the transformers. To reinforce the structure, rock bolts of 15 to 20m in length will be drilled into the rock at the top and sides of each cavern. Up to three tunnel boring machines, as well as drill and blast techniques, will be used for tunneling and excavation.
MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL
The power station will house six reversible Francis pump-turbine and motor-generator units. Three units will be synchronous (fixed) speed and three will be asynchronous (variable) speed. The units will be arranged in the power station in alternating order. There will be a single inclined pressure tunnel that is concrete-lined and will divert water into six steel-lined penstocks (the tunnels that feed water into the generating units).
To find out more about Future Generation JV please visit the website www.futuregenerationjv.com.au
To find out more about the Snowy 2.0 https://www.snowyhydro.com.au/our-scheme/snowy20/