Australia’s biggest energy storage project has received the go-ahead from the New South Wales Government.
The project involves the construction of a pumped-hydro power station that sits about 800 metres underground and is about 240 metres long – the equivalent of two football fields.
It also includes the construction of 27 kilometres of tunnels between the Talbingo and Tantangara Reservoirs, lined with 130,500 concrete segments manufactured locally in Polo Flat.
Once complete, the project will add 350 gigawatt hours of energy storage and 2000 megawatts of generation capacity to the state’s grid – enough to power 500,000 homes during peak demand – and play a major role in the National Electricity Market (NEM) by facilitating the development of renewable energy and putting downward pressure on electricity prices.
In March 2020, the NSW Government approved the Snowy 2.0 Segment Factory, with the latest approval giving the project green light for the Snowy 2.0 Main Works.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the project’s approval includes strict conditions to minimise and offset environmental impacts.
“The projects approval also requires Snowy Hydro to invest almost $100 million for biodiversity and environmental offsets to protect threatened species and deliver long-term conservation and recreational benefits for the Kosciuszko National Park.”
Snowy Hydro’s CEO, Paul Broad said Snowy 2.0 can now progress further, with the project building on the asset’s operation in the Kosciuszko National Park for almost 70 years.
“For a small and temporary construction footprint covering just 0.10 per cent of the park, we will deliver 2000MW of large-scale energy storage to support many other wind and solar projects coming online.”
As part of the approval, the proponent will be required to invest $5 million to develop a captive breeding program for the threatened Stocky Galaxias and Macquarie Perch, install fish-screens to minimise the risk of transfer of pest species downstream, develop an app to share information gathered for the project with visitors of the national park, and restore native vegetation and threatened species habitat once construction infrastructure is decommissioned.
While Exploratory Works continue to progress on site, the project will now be referred to the Australian Government for final approval before Main Works construction commences in the coming months.
Snowy 2.0 is already employing about 500 people, directly injecting more than $35 million into the Snowy Mountains and involving more than 100 local businesses.
The latest approval will see the creation of an extra 2000 jobs during the construction phase, with $4.6 billion injected into regional NSW.