The NSW Government has given approval for exploratory works to start on the Snowy 2.0 project.
“Snowy 2.0 involves expansion of the existing Snowy Scheme, with the construction and operation of a new pumped hydropower station,” Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said.
“It could increase the generation capacity of the existing Snowy Scheme by almost 50 per cent and provide 350,000-megawatt hours of large-scale storage capacity for the National Energy Market.”
If given final approval, Snowy 2.0 will link Tantangara and Talbingo Dams through underground tunnels and an underground power station. Hydropower will be generated by falling water spinning Snowy 2.0’s giant turbines, which can also pump water in the opposite direction.
This closed system allows water to be used more than once between the upper dam (Tantangara) and lower dam (Talbingo).
NSW Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts explains that the approval will allow exploratory works to investigate underground conditions at the proposed location for a power station cavern.
“Snowy Hydro Limited sought approval to construct a 3.1km tunnel and supporting infrastructure, as part of the exploratory works for Snowy 2.0,” Mr Roberts said.
“This approval allows essential geological information to be gathered for the detailed design of the underground power station,” he continued.
The exploratory works will take place in Lobs Hole Ravine region and are subject to strict conditions to address concerns about impacts on Kosciuszko National Park.
“Under the conditions of approval, Snowy Hydro is required to pay $10.5 million to offset the impacts of the exploratory works project on the National Park,” Mr Roberts said.
“These funds would be used by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to improve catchment health and to support the National Park’s unique environmental, heritage and recreational value.”
Other conditions of approval include:
- Detailed management plans to minimise traffic, water, biodiversity and heritage impacts and manage rehabilitation of the disturbed areas;
- Strict measures for the management of works involving the placement of material in Talbingo Reservoir;
- The provision of new recreational facilities at the Talbingo Reservoir if current areas are impacted by the project;
- Notifications to the community about road users on the local networks and water users on the Talbingo Reservoir;
- Rehabilitation following decommissioning.
Snowy Hydro will be submitting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) later this year for the Snowy 2.0 main works involving the construction of an underground power station generating a capacity of around 2,000 megawatts and approximately 27km of power waterways linking the existing Tantangara and Talbingo Reservoirs.
The Snowy 2.0 main works EIS will be publicly exhibited and is expected to be submitted in the first half of this year.
The exploratory works approved are expected to start shortly and will take 18 to 34 months to finalise. Road and access works will begin first. All going to plan, Snowy 2.0 could be operational by 2025. For more detail on the exploratory works check the Snowy Hydro website.
Region Media has sort comment from the National Parks Associaton of NSW.
Original Article published by Ian Campbell on About Regional.