Factory launched to provide concrete segments for 2-GW Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro

Snowy Hydro

Snowy Hydro has launched its Snowy 2.0 precast factory in Cooma, New South Wales, Australia, where 130,000 concrete segments are being produced to line the tunnels for the 2-GW pumped-hydro project.

Snowy 2.0 will underpin thousands of megawatts of renewables and will continue to keep the lights on for generations to come, according to a press release. The project will link two existing Snowy Scheme reservoirs, Tantangara and Talbingo, with 27 km of waterway tunnels and a power station with six pump-turbines located about 800 m underground.

The $5.1 billion Snowy 2.0 project is delivering jobs and significant economic benefit to the regions. More than 1,200 people are working on the project, including over 220 jobs during the segment factory construction and operation.

Snowy Hydro CEO and Managing Director Paul Broad said he was pleased to see many locals employed at the factory. “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,” he 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 special molds. 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%.

The segments will supply the three Snowy 2.0 tunnel boring machines as they excavate and line more than 27 km of tunnels between Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs. The Lady Eileen Hudson TBM is excavating the main access tunnel, and the second machine, TBM Kirsten, is being assembled ready for commissioning and launch.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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