Jobs and construction at Snowy 2.0

The Morrison Government’s support of the landmark Snowy 2.0 project continues to deliver jobs and opportunities for regional Australia.

Snowy Hydro today launched its new Snowy 2.0 precast factory in Cooma, 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 continue to keep the lights on for generations, providing reliable power to support record levels of new wind and solar.

The $5.1 billion project is powering ahead, delivering jobs and significant economic benefit to the regions. More than 1,000 people are already working on the project, with an expected 4,000 direct jobs over the life of the project. This includes over 220 jobs during the segment factory construction and operation.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said 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 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.”

Snowy Hydro CEO and Managing Director Paul Broad said he was pleased to see many locals employed at the factory as part of Snowy 2.0.

“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,” Mr 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.”

The factory operations include a concrete batching plant and two automated carousels, producing up to 24 rings, 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.

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 as they excavate and line more than 27 kilometres of tunnels between Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs.

The Lady Eileen Hudson TBM is well underway excavating the main access tunnel (currently more than 350 metres in), and the second machine, TBM Kirsten, is being assembled ready for commissioning and launch.

Snowy 2.0 project background:

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.

It will reduce volatility in the market, support reliability and bring down power prices for Australian families and businesses.

The Australian Government has committed up to $1.38 billion in equity for Snowy 2.0, with Snowy Hydro funding the remainder of the project.

Snowy 2.0 will link two existing Snowy Scheme reservoirs, Tantangara and Talbingo, with 27km of waterway tunnels and a power station with six pump-turbines located about 800m underground.

Water in the top storage will be released for energy generation at times of peak demand and pumped back at times when there is excess energy in the grid, so Snowy 2.0 is ready to meet demand when needed.

Snowy 2.0 Segment Factory Facts

  • 130,000 concrete segments will be produced at the factory to line the Snowy 2.0 tunnels.
  • Up to 12 rings, each one made of nine segments, will be fabricated per carousel every day.
  • More than 14,500 rings will be produced in total, each 10 metres in diameter,
  • To create the segments, 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.
  • It takes approximately eight to 10 hours to cure and de-mould each segment from start to finish, then they are stored for about two weeks before being transported to site, loaded into TBMs and installed in the tunnels.
  • The first segment factory carousel started production in July 2021 and the second carousel in September 2021.
  • With two carousels running at peak production, 90 tonnes of concrete will be poured per hour.
  • The robotic arms and hydraulic covers in the concreting station are key innovations and cutting-edge technology involved in production.
  • The total workforce for the batching plant and segment factory at full operation is about 110, with many of these roles filled by local people. About 120 people were employed to construct the facility.

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