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TBM breakthrough for Snowy Hydro Project

TBM breakthrough for Snowy Hydro Project

One of three tunnel boring machines working on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project in New South Wales is now beginning its second tunnel excavation, as works progress on the largest committed renewable energy project in Australia.

The project involves linking two existing dams, Tantangara and Talbingo, through 27km of tunnels and building a new underground power station. Water will be pumped to the upper dam when there is surplus renewable energy production and the demand for energy is low, and then released back to the lower dam to generate energy when electricity demand is high.

It will provide flexible, on-demand power while reusing or ‘recycling’ the water in a closed loop and maximise the efficiency of renewables.


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Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Lady Eileen Hudson was the first machine to start tunnelling on the pumped-hydro mega project, the first to complete a tunnel and is now underway on her second tunnel excavation.

The TBM will excavate the six kilometre tailrace tunnel to connect Talbingo Reservoir to the underground power station complex. Water used to generate 2000 megawatts of power from Snowy 2.0 will flow out of the tailrace tunnel. Water also enters this tunnel when the power station is pumping.

The TBM includes a a new 378-tonne cutterhead, made up of 70 cutting discs each weighing 290 kilos that will excavate the varying geology of the 11-metre diameter tunnel. In total the TBM measures 137 metres in length and weighs 2300 tonnes.

The first power from Snowy 2.0 is expected to be generated in 2025.

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