The first giant tunnel boring machine (TBM) has been ordered for the Snowy 2.0 project, signifying a critical construction milestone.
The milestone was celebrated with the official naming by Snowy Hydro Ltd: The ‘Lady Eileen Hudson’ TBM.
Named after an important Snowy Scheme ambassador and the wife of inaugural Scheme Commissioner Sir William Hudson, the Lady Eileen Hudson TBM will excavate the 2.6km main access tunnel for the Snowy 2.0 project and provide access to the site of the underground power station cavern.
The TBM is the first of three that will eventually be working on the project, which will significantly expand pumped-hydro electricity generation from the iconic Snowy Mountains Scheme.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said, “The commissioning of the first TBM marks a major achievement for Snowy 2.0.
“This machine will dig out about 16m of rock each day, and will eventually provide critical access to the site of the power station, 800m underground.
“The project has seen significant ramping up of activity over the last year, and it’s already creating a jobs boom, with a current workforce of 1,000 people and an expected 4,000 direct jobs over the life of the project.
“This is also creating an economic ripple effect in the region, with more than 150 Snowy Mountains businesses to date delivering local content for this historic project, with flow-on indirect jobs and benefits across the region.
“Snowy 2.0 is a key part of the government’s agenda to deliver affordable, reliable power and ensure Australians get a fair deal on energy.
“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.”
When completed, Snowy 2.0 will increase the Snowy Hydro Scheme’s capacity by 2,000 megawatts and provide 350,000MWh 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.
The Federal 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 is expected to be progressively commissioned from 2025.