Snowy Hydro is celebrating the completion of excavation for its first tunnel for Snowy 2.0, with the Lady Eileen Hudson tunnel boring machine (TBM) reaching the location of the new underground power station cavern.
The 11m diameter TBM has excavated 2.85km to create the main access tunnel at Lobs Hole in the Snowy Mountains, where a workforce of more than 2,200 people are building Snowy 2.0 – the 2000MW pumped storage hydro expansion of the Snowy Scheme.
Snowy Hydro acting CEO Roger Whitby said the tunnelling achievement was a significant milestone, with Snowy 2.0 set to underpin the nation’s transition to renewables.
“Snowy 2.0 will not only provide on-demand, quick-start generating capacity for the National Electricity Market (NEM), but a massive 350,000 gigawatt hours of energy storage,” Mr Whitby said. “This is our first new major tunnel excavation in decades, since construction of the original Scheme, and it gives us access to the site where we will create the enormous cavern 800m underground that will house our power station.
“The TBM Lady Eileen Hudson and our teams from Snowy Hydro and contractor Future Generation Joint Venture have done a great job to complete this critical tunnelling task.
“However, there’s no slowing down. Work across the project continues to move ahead rapidly and this tunnel boring machine is now being dismantled so it can be moved to the Talbingo adit where it will be reassembled with some new components for excavation of the 6km tailrace tunnel.”
While dismantling of the TBM conveyor belt gets underway in the main access tunnel, drill and blast activities are ongoing to excavate cross passages and tunnels to gain access to the power station complex, which will include a 251m-long, 52m-high machine hall cavern and 223m-long, 46m-high transformer hall cavern.
The new work fronts associated with the powerhouse will create further employment opportunities on this clean energy mega-project.
The Snowy 2.0 project will link Tantangara Reservoir (top storage) with Talbingo Reservoir (bottom storage) through 27km of tunnels and a power station with pumping capabilities.
Lady Eileen Hudson TBM prior to launch. Image courtesy of Snowy Hydro