EXPANDING THE SNOWY HYDRO SCHEME
FOR AN ENGINEERING geek the stats are mind- bending: 16 huge dams holding enough water to fill Sydney Harbour 12 times over. 145 km of tunnels drilled through solid mountain rock. 80 km of aquaducts. Nine power stations producing 4,100 megawatts of clean energy, powering hundreds of thousands of households across New South Wales and Victoria.
Australia’s Snowy Hydro scheme remains by far the largest engineering project ever undertaken in the nation. Started in 1949, the scheme took 25 years to build. More than 100,000 people worked on its construction.
Now it could be about to get even bigger, with plans afoot for a ‘ pumped hydro’ expansion that would add an extra 2,000 megawatts of power generation. It would turn the Snowy waterways into one of the world’s biggest virtual batteries, with a capacity equal to 35 million Tesla Powerwalls.