PROJECT | Staff Reporter, Australia

$989.46m investment in Snowy Hydro's expansion gets go-ahead

The first output from the expansion could boost the firm's capacity by 50%.

Reuters reports that the Australian government has approved $989.46m (A$1.38b) for the expansion of state-owned Snowy Hydro to back up wind and solar power.

The A$4b expansion is needed to shore up Australia’s power supply as ageing coal-fired plants shut over the next few decades. The plan was pushed by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who touted it as Australia’s biggest renewable energy project since Snowy Hydro was first built.

The announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been widely expected, after the Snowy Hydro board approved the project in December.

Snowy will add 2,000MW of power generation through so-called pumped hydro, which acts like a huge battery, pumping water uphill between two dams when there is cheap wind and solar power on the grid, and releasing that energy when the wind eases and the sun goes down.

First output from the expansion, set to increase Snowy’s capacity by 50%, is expected in late 2024.

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