How helpful is Snowy2.0?

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.

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August 3, 2022 11:23 pm

In brief – the problem with Snowy2.0

In briefer – the problem with Snowy 2.0 —> Maocolm

August 4, 2022 4:14 am

So that is 11 billion per GW.

No words.

August 4, 2022 6:04 am

Modelling by the Energy Realists of Australia shows that the scheme will not perform anywhere near the expectations that were aroused.

Cut and paste that onto your desktop notepad, for ease of use.
It can be laid up nearly every energy project (as they scramble to band-aid over the self-inflicted wound) that you’ll see conceived in the next decade.

Remember the energy trilemma!
Cheap, Reliable, Green…you have two picks only, you can’t have three. Choose your combination.

The politicians/bureaucrats favoured combination may vary from the common man. If so, they’ll come to rue that, when reality meets ideology.

Whatever your particular preference, the result is now baked in. Hold tight and enjoy the ride.

Anchor What
Anchor What
August 4, 2022 7:41 am

Appreciate all your good work Rafe, but realistically the war is lost.
People have now been so brainwashed by the continual drip, drip, drip of climate change and ruinable energy propaganda from all sources, media, celebs, some so-called scientists, and craven politicans, that there’s no way forward.
The recent federal election has set a new pattern of failure. Nobody is guarding the guardians, nobody is winning the argument for coal or nuclear.

August 4, 2022 7:46 am

The recent event of AEMO intervention in supply & pricing demonstrated that Tumut 3 could not be used to full capacity when Blowering is full for fear of downstream flooding. In addition the price received for electricity generated was insufficient to justify the pump back up to Talbingo. This is covered in articles on Wattclarity.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
August 4, 2022 8:14 am

Rafe, many thanks to you and the Energy Realists for keeping us on the Cat up todate with the limited capacity, likely failures and huge costs for little benefit of Snowy 2. Sometimes I despair at how bad things will have to get re energy for any significant change to occur. Most ordinary non-political people I speak to have no idea of what this energy ‘shift’ to so-called renewables is going to do to Australia, they at best simply prepare resignedly in the name of ‘saving the planet’ for a few limited domestic blackouts. There is real ignorance of the energy needs of smeltering, transport, food production and manufacturing. While there is no real political and media critique of this world-wide pseudo-scientific socialist fraud called catastrophic anthropogenic CO2 ‘warming’ there is no hope for anything but more money spent on projects that are very poor substitutes for gas or coal or nuclear. And continuing economic decline of the Western nations, including Australia. At least, supporting groups like yours in getting the information out, we can show future generations that some of us tried to stop the rot.

August 4, 2022 9:22 am

Its not physically possible.

Thats where we are at, a “solution” which isnt remotely physically possible using the tech we have today having bucket loads of dough thrown at it.

The unicorns of “too cheap to meter” have turned out to be donkeys with carrots stuck to their foreheads but the sub-tards of government (and the grifters) see that as no reason to stop buying more.

You see stories of people losing their lifes savings to Nigerian scammers and wonder how it happens. We have a government at the “please keep sending me money to release the $1,000,000,000 I have inherited and want to give you” stage of denial.

August 4, 2022 10:15 am

I’ll echo Lizzies’ words, Rafe.

Thank you and keep it up.
Always interesting (and horrific) reading.

August 4, 2022 10:50 am

You and the crew have done very well on a tricky subject, Rafe.
Any storage system is best suited to short predictable cycles.
Consumer demand is predictable and short cycle.
VRE is not. There’s the problem.

August 4, 2022 11:11 am

I can’t help but think that Snowy 2 is very Heath Robinson. Indeed the whole renewable energy debacle is an elaborate and unnecessary engineering complication dreamed up by mad professors and scammers. For those not familiar with Heath Robinson here is a link:

August 4, 2022 11:41 am

And what happens with Snowy2 when the Droughts come, as they always do

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

There is no evidence available that can clearly state whether Dorothea started writing the poem, ‘My Country’, in Australia or England. She began to sketch out the poem earlier than 1904, with the final draft being completed in 1908.

Written after the Federation Drought

August 4, 2022 11:52 am

Mugga Lane Solar Park to sell after administrators appointed

Renewables developer Maoneng has confirmed that its 13MW Mugga Lane Solar Park in the Australian Capital Territory is up for sale after being placed into voluntary administration.

Maoneng, which has plans to build more than 2,000MW of utility scale solar and battery energy storage system projects across Australia, said the situation at Mugga Lane will not affect it development plans.

“Mugga Lane Solar Park is a group subsidiary asset operating under a special purpose vehicle structure,” a Maoneng spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“The appointment of KordaMentha, the voluntary administrators, only relates to Mugga Lane Solar Park, and does not affect other group operations or any related entities.”

The appointment of voluntary administrators comes just days after Maoneng unveiled plans to build an almost 1GW solar PV farm and battery energy storage facility in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Maoneng said the proposed Merriwa Energy Hub would be one of the largest renewable energy hubs in the country, comprising a 550MW solar farm and a 400MW/1,600MWh battery energy storage system (BESS).

The proposed $1.6 billion Merriwa Energy Hub is the latest addition to Maoneng’s pipeline of renewable energy projects. The company also retains an interest in the 200MW Sunraysia Solar Farm being developed in southwest NSW, and is also developing the 240MW/480MWh Mornington battery project in Victoria and the 225MW/450MWh Gould Creek storage project in near Adelaide in South Australia.

The Mugga Lane Solar Park is one of Australia’s oldest utility scale solar farms. Built on a 52-hectare site in the south of Canberra, the asset was completed in March 2017 and generates approximately 24,500MWh of electricity a year.

August 4, 2022 12:30 pm

People have now been so brainwashed by the continual drip, drip, drip of climate change and ruinable energy propaganda from all sources, media, celebs, some so-called scientists, and craven politicans, that there’s no way forward.

Yep … everything has to collapse before people will see..

August 4, 2022 12:47 pm

When the Luvvies can’t charge their EVs there might be pause for thought. That most Australians are, in effect, willing to export what remains of heavy manufacturing is depressing. That the countries which assume those tasks (China, India etc) are more than likely to emit the same or more “carbon” suggests mass delusion.

Maybe serious mass protests in CBR around that pox of a building -whilst in session – might shift the dial. Maybe. I attended a couple of demos here earlier in the year in Perth re lockdowns/mandates. But by the time we got to Parliament House there were more cops than protesters. Getting Australians off their ar*ses is hard work.

M Kalajzich
M Kalajzich
August 4, 2022 1:33 pm

As the saying goes “ follow the money”, carpet baggers going into liquidation only to set up another ponzi scheme.

Johnny Rotten
August 4, 2022 2:23 pm

And for all those billions of dollars, how many Coal fired HELE Power Stations could be built? Answer. Plenty. With way far more power generated and continuous reliable electrical power to boot.

August 4, 2022 3:06 pm


Enough floating around to buy any number of “honest” politicians and churnalists.

And, while we are at it:

An ENORMOUS game is afoot. Make sure your affairs are in order and that you know what to do.

August 4, 2022 4:00 pm

What a complete waste of taxpayer and borrowed money. Did anyone do a Cost/Benefit Analysis?

August 4, 2022 4:55 pm

“…the asset was completed in March 2017 and generates approximately 24,500MWh of electricity a year.”

So in one year, it generates less than half what of Eraring could do in just one day.

Fair Shake
Fair Shake
August 4, 2022 6:11 pm

Can’t wait to get this latest high tech electricity to charge my phone.

The Beer whisperer
The Beer whisperer
August 4, 2022 10:35 pm

No wonder the left love Turnbull – he’s a walking clusterfuck.

Winston Smith
August 5, 2022 2:12 am


Yep … everything has to collapse before people will see..

That’s been my read for the last two and half years.
If Australia refuses to learn the easy way, it will have to be the hard way.

August 5, 2022 1:26 pm

if I read correctly the study assumes that Tantangara is run as it is now and that the volume of water available is insufficient to generate the planned kWH. The Tantangara reservoir could presumably be filled by holding back from Eucumbene for a period.

August 6, 2022 7:55 am

I’m with duk and Winston. Until reality smacks the stupid, the wilfully ignorant and the lazy in the face most of Australia will refuse to understand what this carpetbagger/government/activist pursuit of net zero means for them.

By the time they figure out the danger the Triumverate of Doom has placed them in it will be too late. Recovery, if it’s even possible, will be a long drawn out, ever more eye wateringly expensive, and painful journey.

I’ve been asking the cheerleaders of this nonsense when I encounter them, what 43% of their modern life they are prepared to give up and do without. The slack jaw and puzzled brow tells me that there is a complete failure to compute what this legislation will do to them personally. They believe it is only going to affect those dirty coal plants.

August 6, 2022 3:37 pm

Agree Megan, I have noticed same.

However on this:

They believe it is only going to affect those dirty coal plants.

Power stations might be at risk but us miners will continue pumping out tons of the stuff to go overseas. BHP speaks with forked tongue on coal and Glencore are just hoovering up all the best assets offloaded by virtue signalling firms like Rio Tinto.

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