Green Light for Snowy Hydro 2.0

Media release
21 Dec 2017
Prime Minister, Minister for Energy and the Environment
Environment and Energy

The Turnbull Government welcomes Snowy Hydro’s release of a feasibility study into the expansion of the energy generation and storage scheme.

The feasibility study clearly demonstrates that Snowy 2.0 is a viable pumped hydro project that will future-proof the National Electricity Market (NEM), helping stabilise the system and deliver lower prices.

The project involves linking two large dams - Tantangara at an elevation of 1233 metres and Talbingo at 552 metres. When energy is cheap, in the middle of the night for example, water is pumped to the higher reservoir, and then when energy is in high demand and prices rise, energy is generated by releasing water downhill.  

The project will act as a giant 2000MW battery in the centre of the NEM providing enough power for 500,000 homes and much needed backup for the increasing amount of wind and solar coming into the system.

Given the size of the two connected reservoirs it has the potential for future expansion of generation capacity.

Snowy 2.0 will make renewables reliable.

Snowy 2.0 will also lessen the volatility in the wholesale price of electricity and reduce the current reliance on gas generation as the main form of backup for intermittent renewables.

The project has the additional benefit of creating up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs across the region over the construction period.

As Snowy Hydro acknowledges, there are geological challenges but these can all be overcome as the 27kms of tunnels and the underground powerhouse cavern are constructed.

The Snowy 2.0 feasibility study finds that:

  • The project is technically feasible - it can be built and Snowy Hydro have a base-case design and detailed construction schedule;
  • The project is financially feasible as it meets Snowy Hydro’s stringent investment hurdles;
  • Snowy Hydro can finance the project itself using retained earnings and borrowing;
  • Snowy 2.0 will start operations from 2024 and will underpin the reliability and stability of the NEM for decades.

Snowy Hydro 2.0 is a nation-building project. It will not only deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system but will also generate jobs and grow our economy.