TBM Ready for Work at Webuild’s Hydropower Project in Australia
Webuild and its partners in the Future Generation joint-venture celebrated with Snowy Hydro Ltd. the commissioning of the first of three technologically advanced tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) assigned to Snowy 2.0, a major milestone. As the largest renewable energy project in Australia, Snowy 2.0 will expand Snowy Hydro’s network of hydro power stations to support the country’s transition to a low-carbon emissions future.
Webuild is a global leader in hydro power projects, which play a crucial role in the shift towards renewable energy sources. As the first source of renewable energy in the world, hydro power is responsible for 71% of all energy produced by renewable sources. The Group’s current projects provide clean energy to millions of people throughout the world while avoiding the emission of about 14.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
About 1,000 people are working on Snowy 2.0, with 150 local businesses involved, and about 4,000 jobs are expected to be created during the life of the project. There is also the potential for many more jobs to be created in the region among supply and support services.
Designed specifically for Snowy 2.0, the TBMs highlight the innovation that Webuild brings to every project. In particular, another of the TBMs will be one of the first in the world to be able to excavate on a range of variable slopes as well as on very steep angles: at a descendent of up to 9% (five degrees) to an ascent of up to 47% (25 degrees).
Assembled onsite after its components were transported from Port Kembla, the ‘Lady Eileen Hudson’ TBM with a 11-m diameter will excavate the 2.6-km main access tunnel to where a cavern will be dug to house the underground powerhouse of the pumped-storage scheme. The TBM will then be dismantled and reassembled at the Talbingo portal where it will excavate the tailrace tunnel.
Marco Assorati, Webuild Executive Director Asia Pacific, and Antonio Betti, Future Generation’s Snowy 2.0 Project Director, joined Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor and Paul Broad, Chief Executive of Snowy Hydro, at the ceremony held at Lobs Hole, the site of the future tunnel where they inspected the TBM.
“This marks the start of an amazing journey together,” said Assorati. “We are proud to be a part of a project that will provide a sustainable future for our children.”
In addition to the combined total of 40 km to excavate, the Future Generation joint-venture, which also includes Lane Construction and Australia’s Clough, is overseeing the construction of access roads and other infrastructure like workers’ camps necessary for the development of the project. In the town of Cooma, there is a pre-cast factory and batching plant to produce the concrete segments that will line the tunnel walls.
Set in the Snowy Mountains, Snowy 2.0 will provide 2,000 megawatts of fast-start, dispatchable energy 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 power market, support reliability and bring down power prices for families and businesses.