EX­PAN­SION PLAN

Cosmos - - Cosmos Science Club - — CATHAL O’CON­NELL

En­gi­neers are con­sid­er­ing sev­eral pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios for Snowy 2.0. One of them would con­nect the scheme’s largest dam, the Tal­bingo reser­voir, with the Tan­tan­gara reser­voir to its east with 27 km of new tun­nels. The Tal­bingo reser­voir, on the Tu­mut River, sits 600 me­tres above sea level and holds 921,400 me­gal­itres. It is the up­per reser­voir for Snowy’s largest power- plant, Tu­mut 3, which has been run­ning pumped hy­dro since 1973. Back then ded­i­cated pumps were needed to drive the wa­ter back uphill. Now tech­nol­ogy has de­vel­oped to the point that tur­bines can do the pump­ing. All of the Snowy 2.0 tur­bines will have this abil­ity, a much more cost- ef­fec­tive ap­proach to pumped hy­dro. The Tan­tan­gara reser­voir, which dams the Mur­rumbidgee River, is 1,200 me­tres above sea level and holds more than 250,000 me­gal­itres. To drill into the al­ready full Tan­tan­gara, an in­ner dam would need to be built to drain around the bore area. The new 2,000 megawatt power sta­tion, con­structed in­side a 200- me­tre long cav­ern 800 me­tres un­der­ground, would be the big­gest hy­dro power sta­tion in Australia.

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