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PM's Snowy 2.0 to cost up to $2bn more and take longer


Source: Financial Review

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme would require an extra $1 billion to $2 billion to be spent on upgrading poles and wires to deliver the energy to the National Electricity Market and take longer than expected, a budget estimates hearing has been told.

Although the Turnbull government has spruiked "Snowy 2.0" as a solution to the national energy crisis, Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad said the project - to build another pumped hydro storage project - would now take five to six years, rather than the four years originally thought.

Highlighting the political sensitivities around the project, Mr Broad said Snowy Hydro - which is owned by the NSW, Victorian and Commonwealth governments - was conducting a feasibility study at the same time as working through regulatory and environmental approvals for the project which is in national parks.

Mr Broad said the "best-case scenario" was to begin construction work at the end of next year, but early feasibility works indicated it would take longer.

"The best estimate would be four years, but the rock type may present some serious challenges so it will probably be five to six years," he told the budget estimates hearing in Canberra. 

"The best-case scenario would be to start at the end of next year but we have an over-lapping feasibility study and approval processes."

The budget estimates hearing heard the Prime Minister's office contacted Snowy Hydro on March 5, only a week before the Prime Minister made the announcement about the proposed expansion of the scheme.

Under the proposal, Snowy Hydro would build three new tunnels between the Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs. Water would be pumped up to the Talbingo reservoir - at an elevation of 700 metres - before being released down hill into turbines at the Tantangara reservoir to generate electricity.

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