The third and final tunnel boring machine (TBM) has been commissioned for Snowy 2.0, the pumped-hydro expansion of the iconic Snowy Mountains scheme in Australia.
The 143m-long TBM Florence is one of a trio of technologically-advanced machines excavating more than 27km of waterway tunnels as part of the project, the largest renewable energy scheme in the country.
Snowy Hydro Managing Director and CEO Paul Broad joined Snowy Mountains community members and representatives from Snowy 2.0 principal contractor Future Generation Joint Venture for a celebration event and ribbon-cutting at Tantangara in late March, where TBM Florence is being launched to excavate the headrace tunnel.
“The progress we’re making on Snowy 2.0 is terrific,” Broad said. “The other two TBMs, Lady Eileen Hudson and Kirsten, are already powering ahead excavating the main access tunnel and emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel at Lobs Hole, so we’re delighted to be starting this very long and deep headrace tunnel from Tantangara.
“Watching TBM Florence’s big blue cutterhead spin today alongside people who helped build the original Scheme highlights the pride we at Snowy Hydro have in our pioneering past and how exciting the renewable energy future is with Snowy 2.0.”
Snowy 2.0 will deliver 2000MW of pumping and generating capacity and 175 hours of storage – enough to power 500,000 homes simultaneously – which will underpin thousands of megawatts of intermittent renewables.
Named after Australia’s first female electrical engineer, Florence Violet McKenzie (1890-1982), TBM Florence is set to excavate 14.9km of the 17km headrace tunnel. The 11m diameter Herrenknecht-designed machine has been purposely designed to manage hazardous dust and poor ground conditions while tunnelling up to 450m underground.
TBM Florence was named by local Berridale student Riley Douch as part of the Snowy 2.0 Tunnel Boring Machine Naming Competition, which highlighted ground-breaking Australian women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).