Snowy2.0 is a pumped hydro scheme to store electric power for use during wind droughts. It is a massive project, costed near 2 billion when it was first announced by PM Turnbull. That was upgraded to 4 billion with power expected by 2024 but now the cost is approaching 8 billion with power expected in 2028, all going well.
Modelling by the Energy Realists of Australia shows that the scheme will not perform anywhere near the expectations that were aroused. A summary of this work has circulated as Briefing Note 22.7. This will be reproduced below because it is not yet available on our website. The full technical study is not designed for general consumption but it is posted here to provide an electronic source until it is on our site.
In brief – the problem with Snowy2.0
The scheme depends on input from a fleet of wind turbines that is almost as large as the installed capacity of windpower in the NEM at the present time. These additional windfarms will cost in the order of $14bn, not counting the transmission lines.
The scheme does not deliver a continuous flow of power because there is a pumping phase when water is moved from the lower reservoir to the upper level and a generation phase when the water runs down through the turbines.
During the generation phase a flow of 2000MW is expected, much the same as Liddell power station when it was new. However the flow is not continuous and so the output does not match a conventional power station of the same capacity (at full flow.)
This means that the wind turbines and the pumped hydro facility combined do not fully replace a single 2000MW (2GW) of coal power.
To replace the 20+ GW of coal capacity in the NEM a substantial number of schemes on the scale of Snowy2.0 will be required and no other suitable sites are available.