Snowy Hydro 2.0 Powering Ahead

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Snowy Hydro 2.0 is already employing 350 people and will create more than 5000 new jobs during the construction phase of the development.

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PRESS RELEASE

Snowy Hydro 2.0 is already employing 350 people and will create more than 5000 new jobs during the construction phase of the development.

The game changing project, will have enough capacity to provide 350,000 MW/h of power for a week, enough to meet peak demand continuously for 500,000 homes.

Snowy Hydro 2.0 will help safeguard the energy security of the eastern seaboard, particularly on hot summer days and cold winter nights, while providing a jobs bonanza during the construction phase.

The Turnbull Government today confirmed a new $8 million accelerated agreement between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Snowy Hydro had been reached to drive planning for the construction of the project and insight for future pumped hydro projects into the future.

ARENA is finalising details on the injection of funding with Snowy Hydro Ltd.

The total spend on the planning phase will be $29 million and be completed before the end of the year.

Extensive drilling and analysis is already underway on the western side of the mountains around Tumut.

In its first stage of construction, the project will see a 2000MW of underground generation and 29 km of tunnels between existing reservoirs in the Snowy Mountains region.

Under the agreement with ARENA, Snowy will provide information on future trends for pumped hydro and energy demand, as well as the latest information on technology such as reversible pumps or variable load generation.

This information will help the potential next wave of pumped hydro projects, such as the nine pumped projects being examined in Tasmania.

The Australian Government’s support for pumped hydro is part of our commitment to ensure reliability and affordability in the energy system and to build an energy network we can rely upon while reducing emissions.

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29 Comments
  1. Joe 2 years ago

    Well, well, well here he is again Big Mal pumping up RE while at the same time he smacks down the States and in particular South Australia for pursuing their individual Renewable Energy Targets. At his presser Big Mal could not resist having another swipe the Labor States and Premier Jay in particular for his ‘ideaology and idiocy’ which Big Mal reckons resulted in SA’s blackouts. No mention from Big Mal what really caused the SA blackout…mega storm knocking down transmission towers and powerlines. And no smackdown of Premier Gladys over our recent blackouts due to….high winds and trees snagging power lines. But first things first before Big Mal gets ahead of himself. The feasibility study that he announced a couple of months ago, when he last visited Snowy 1.0, is not due to be completed until later this year. Yet at the presser a couple of hours ago he is already in ‘building mode’ for Snowy 2.0….already drilling, thousands of jobs being created, planning for those overseas workers to come in and getting all the accommodation sorted for the influx of people connected with the project…all this without the final feasibility study. And his right hand man, Paul Broad the boss of Snowy, told us it will take 6 years for Snowy 2.0 to be completed. Why have a feasibility study when Big Mal has already decided Snowy 2.0 is now under way. It is a bit like Bananabee Joyce with this ‘Identity Fraud’ problem…Big Mal has already delivered the High Court decision before the High Court has even heard the case.

    • TheTransition 2 years ago

      You know, Turnbull has done a lot of things a lot of people dislike. I don’t see this this project as one of them. The fact that this project is being launched as a conservative initiative means it is very likely to actually get built too.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        Hello my Transition friend. Just like the Abbott, the Turnbull is always speaking with two tongues. The message being given depends upon the audience that is being addressed. On the face of it Snowy 2.0 seems like a project to be advanced. However the Turnbull announced a feasibility study only in March when he was last in the Snowy. That study is due to finalise late this year. And lets not forget that there have been investigations in the past about building Snowy 2.0 but those plans were dropped. But the Turnbull is already telling us that Snowy 2.0 is up and running….why bother with a $30 millions feasibility study? At the same presser for Snowy 2.0, where the Turnbull is talking up RE and Snowy 2.0, the Turnbull couldn’t help himself in smacking down Premier Jay. Premier Jay is already advancing into RE Storage with the Solar Thermal at Port Augusta and some pumped hydro projects. Storage is what the Turnbull is patting himself on the back for with his Snowy 2.0 so why the smack down on Premier Jay for already getting on with it. Credit to the Turnbull though in saying ‘No’ ( at least so far ) to any building of new Coalers.

        • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

          So spot on Joe. I worked on a version of Snowy 2 in 1982 – the problem then is the problem now: how do you pay for insurance against infrequent but devastating events, in this case, a prolonged period without wind? So many people don’t even have medical insurance! And we don’t engineer any system to be 100% fail safe – look at Houston: where are the drains that can cope with a 1:800y flood?

          Meanwhile Weatherall is solving real world issues – transmission constraints to the NEM and lack of viable coal or gas alternatives, which Snowy 2 can’t address.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Nature, don’t you just love it when it goes off the reservation so to speak. The events in Houston are extreme but we are seeing ‘extremes’ around the world that may now just be becoming part of the normal. As far as Snowy 2.0 goes I think Big Mal should just give it a little rest until that feasibility study is done. If there are risks such as the wind resource that you mentioned then lets hear that. Isn’t that the whole reason for a feasibility study.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            What I meant re wind drought is that Snowy 2 is really insurance against them, but has limited value otherwise. Surely you knock off the most common “issues” first – the daily balancing of supply and demand as the sun goes down. Snowy 2 is to that problem as a 14lb sledgehammer is to a nut. Why pay for weeks of reserve when 4h will do. And that is what Jay is focused on.

          • TheTransition 2 years ago

            If you think a bit further ahead this is exactly what Australia needs as we move above 30-40 % RE nationally. All those Solar farms and Wind farms have to generate more power than is needed *at the time it is generated* in order to provide power when the weather isn’t favourable. Snowy 2.0 can purchase this power at a reasonable price instead of it falling below zero (as happens in SA already) and sell it as needed. It also provides extra power for extreme days (think +40C in Melbourne/Sydney) and even better, increases the grid interconnector capacity between Victoria and NSW (something SA needs as well). All up it’s what we need in the 2020’s.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            I’m not convinced multi-week storage is necessary now, and in the future if solar is so cheap it is literally everywhere, what we will need is something to get us thru an evening peak, and something to get us thru the night. Local 4-6h pumped hydro plus behind the meter batteries (which people will install anyway unless network costs come down significantly) will do the evening peak, and geographically dispersed wind will do the overnight. Appropriate pricing will drive demand towards times of surplus capacity. Much of the demand will be curtailable, very little firm 24×7.

          • TheTransition 2 years ago

            There 4 things that are really nice about Snowy 2.0.
            1. Price. If it can be built for $4 Billion (including transmission) then the cost per KW supplied is $2000. That is way cheaper than any other RE technology and combined cycle gas plants. It wins on cost alone. Solar and Wind farms can be located on nice, boring, flat plains and sell their excess power to Snowy 2.0. No need to add their own on site storage or jump through the hoops for their own boutique pumped storage somewhere else.
            2. Extra transmission capacity. As Wind and Solar farms in Victoria and NSW make a larger fraction of total capacity, they’ll have the option sell their excess power interstate via extra transmission capacity provided by the scheme.
            3. Longevity. The infrastructure will last over a century. So long after the capital cost has been amortised we will still have the infrastructure to provide storage for 3rd and 4th generation RE facilities.
            4. Upgradability. If it all works then Snowy 3.0 and Snowy 4.0 provide 4 GW and 6 GW of power respectively. This allows a relatively cheap way to scale beyond 50% RE via intermittent resources.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            All 4 are really nice things about Snowy 2, but whether the priority given to this project over all the others that are needed is the point. The same money put into a PH on Arthur’s Lake and a second Basslink for example could unlock all Tassie’s hydro into the NEM and provide a big boost to their economy while undermining the remaining lignite plants. The same money put into a new interconnector to SA would unlock considerably more wind power and provide a big boost to the SA economy. A similar budget spent on a PH near Walga plus a new multi-GW link between NSW and Qld would allow a big boost in solar exports south while firming solar for the evening peak. So much to do, so little time….

          • Mike Shackleton 2 years ago

            You could just jack up the Basslink capacity and install more wind power on the west coast. When wind power is good, turn off the hydro and let the dams fill up from catchment flows, passive storage!

            My understanding is PH is not as good a proposition in Tassie because for a significant portion of the year hydro runs at full tilt due to the dams all being at capacity. Pointless pumping water back up to a full dam!

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Dam levels will be determined by how much machines are run – at the moment they are at about 40% full. Of course adding more wind (supply) and more demand (EVs and export to Vic) will require changes to operations but the end result is the same: levels are managed by how much you generate, and the more that is sold to Vic, the more income to the state. Finding good PH sites in Tas after so much conventional hydro is built is not so easy. South Australia OTH has lots of great sites because the arid nature of the state means few have been developed. Snowy 2 is made possible by virtue of there being a convenient point to “short circuit” water that has flowed thru the conventional Tumut cascade back up to its starting point to do it all over again (if you call a 29km long tunnel short!).

          • Ian 2 years ago

            I would tend to agree, strong connections to diverse wind farm sites solar sites and to Tasmania should spread the risk. Storage of any kind is expensive and the full daily cycling of storage is the most cost-effective use of this sort of resource. Just how serious is the problem of prolonged cloudy windless days? That is at a state level and at an interconnected NEM-wide level? There are two areas that should have large capacity interconnectors. 1. The Basslink. 2 the Adelaide – Melbourne link mainly to serve solar and wind resources sited between the two cities .

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            And Snowy 2.0 could be a stealth move to help coal cope with with increasing penetration of the PV induced duck-curve effect. All depends on the minimum buy price for excess coal generation I guess.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            This is a Government that doesn’t pick winners. It only picks losers like multi-mix technology to hobble the NBN and onsell rates the put decent speeds out of reach for most peoples budgets. Like a massive energy storage project that involves boring tunnels in the middle of the Alps the width of a state away from the two or three states that need it most.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            We can get to penetrations of higher than 50% without major storage like Snowy 2.0. SEN has modelled to 86% RE on the SWIS and that includes batteries behind the meter but no PHES at all. To go to 100% We need storage of this scale, but even this will not supply during the clouding wind droughts that becalm the entire SWIS network’s footprint for weeks at a time several times a year. Biofuels make more economic sense than trying to store two or three weeks of energy. On the NEM there’s the advantage of greater climatic variation across the network too.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Why centralise all the storage in the Alps? Smaller, distributed turkey nest dams with bigger heads (up to three times the vertical fall of Tumut 3 seems more cost effective, that’s what Blakers at ANU found anyhow.

          • TheTransition 2 years ago

            Compared to multiple turkey nest installations Snowy 2.0 has the benefits of:
            1. upgraded interconnector between Vic and NSW included the price.

            2. One set of environmental approval compared to the one each required for each turkey nest site.
            3. No need for extra HV connections to each turkey nest site.

            But most importantly it will actually get built by a real company with bipartisan support.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            1. No such thing as a free lunch.

            2. As Blankets points out with turkey nest sites there’s an abundance of already cleared and degraded off-river sites with more head (more bang for buck) in most parts of Australia you’d want to place storage. Why go into a national park area and remove millions of tonnes of rock and subsoil for 29km of tunnels?

            3. The HV to distributed storage sites from where it will be used (both generation and demand) is way less distance/expense than the extra transmission from Snowy 2 to QLD, NSW, VIC and finally SA where power is being used and otherwise spilled.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            1. Snowy needs the transmission constraints to be removed anyway to allow efficient operation of the existing scheme even without Snowy 2
            2. Snowy 2 has so many enviro issues: mixing of warm water into a frozen reservoir, 80km of roads, disposal of rock, major excavations for intake/outlets, potential for reservoir rim collapse at Tantangara etc
            3. Most of the PHES sites in SA and Qld have good transmission connections or will share new assets with new RE projects. But a key issue is that for reserve and FCAS, the PHES needs to be close to the load. Snowy can’t adequately address reserve and regulation issues in the SA grid for example.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Some economists have referred to Snowy 1 as a white elephant that might have been a ‘nation builder’ but didn’t make economic sense. Certainly the environmental impacts were a very high price to pay basically destroying the Snowy River water levels and seasonal flows.

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          Why do feasibility studies cost $30 million in the first place?

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Geotech investigations mainly, for each of the intake/outlets and the tunnel options, plus the access roads

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            $30m is a lot of drilling and seismic testing and report writing I’d have thought?

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            4 tunnel options, 26km each, 2x4km access tunnels, powerhouse 200m underground, major excavations for inlet/outlets at each end, drilling in a national park, complex variable geology. It all adds up to very expensive investigations. 1000’s of manhours of design and documentation. $30M is 1% of expected $3B construction cost so on the low side for a hydro FS.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          How quickly things change. Turnbull is now going full tilt for keeping old Coaler Liddell. Now all we wait to hear is the announcement to BUILD a Nu Coaler with our $5 Billions NAIF.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Snowy 2 is not necessarily all about renewables. Any form of electricity generation can be used to pump water uphill. The uphill part can be coal powered and the downhill part (hydro) is renewable. It’s a type of energy laundering!

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          Exactly.

  2. juxx0r 2 years ago

    Honourable is a stretch.

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