Snowy Hydro has launched its new Snowy 2.0 precast factory in Cooma, New South Wales, where 130,000 concrete segments are being produced locally to line the tunnels for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest pumped-hydro project.
Snowy 2.0, Australia’s largest committed new renewable energy project, will provide reliable power to support record levels of new wind and solar.
More than 1,000 people are already working on the $5.1 billion project, with a further expected 4,000 direct jobs to be created over the life of the project. This includes over 220 jobs during the segment factory construction and operation.
“Right from the start, we wanted to build this factory locally rather than import segments from overseas or interstate because it meant local jobs, opportunities and investment,” Snowy Hydro CEO and managing director Paul Broad said.
“So, it’s with great pride that we celebrate the official launch of this critical facility for Snowy 2.0 alongside our principal contractor and factory operator Future Generation Joint Venture.”
Snowy 2.0 will reduce volatility in the market, support reliability and bring down power prices for Australian families and businesses.
“Snowy 2.0 will store the excess energy from Australia’s world-leading levels of household solar and use that energy when the sun goes down, to keep the lights on and prices low as we continue to add record levels of renewables to the grid,” Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.
“The project is stimulating significant economic activity in regional NSW, not only through the thousands of jobs it will create, but also through the many local businesses that are already benefiting from Snowy 2.0. This is an excellent example of regional manufacturing might and today’s announcement is another important milestone for the Snowy 2.0 project.”
The factory operations include a concrete batching plant and two automated carousels, producing up to 24 rings with each one made of nine segments, per day.
Raw materials are sourced from the local area to mix concrete within the batching plant, which is then transferred into the factory and poured into specially-designed moulds every 10 minutes.
With the use of robotics, the moulds progress along the carousel as the segments cure and finish. There is an onsite laboratory and testing to check the quality of every segment produced. The robotic arms and hydraulic covers in the concreting station are key innovations and cutting-edge technology involved in production.
In a recycling initiative, around 70,000 tonnes of slag – a by-product of the steel manufacturing process – is used to produce the segments. This reduces the amount of cement required by 40 per cent.
The segments will supply the three Snowy 2.0 tunnel boring machines (TBM) as they excavate and line more than 27km of tunnels between Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs.
The Lady Eileen Hudson TBM is well underway, excavating the main access tunnel (currently more than 350m in) and the second machine, TBM Kirsten, is being assembled ready for commissioning and launch.
When completed, Snowy 2.0 will increase the Snowy Hydro Scheme’s capacity by 2,000 megawatts and provide 350,000 megawatt hours of large-scale storage, enough to power the equivalent of 500,000 homes for over a week during peak demand.