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Snowy welcomes approval

Snowy Hydro has welcomed planning approval for exploratory works.

Snowy Hydro has welcomed the New South Wales Government’s planning approval for Snowy 2.0 Exploratory Works.

The decision, which follows an environmental and planning assessment process, is another significant milestone in progressing the project, CEO Paul Broad said.

Snowy Hydro hopes to commence work for Snowy 2.0 soon, subject to approval from the Federal Government.

Mr Broad said NSW Government’s support for Snowy 2.0 is critical for the security, affordability and reliability of the National Electricity Market (NEM) in the future.

“The mighty Snowy Scheme keeps the lights on across the National Electricity Market at times of peak demand today, and Snowy 2.0 will build on our existing capabilities,” Mr Broad said.

“With more intermittent renewables coming online Snowy 2.0 will create an additional 2000 megawatts of on-demand energy generation and 175 hours of large-scale storage so households and businesses have energy when they need it most.

“Snowy 2.0 will deliver reliable energy at times of peak demand and can ‘fill the gaps’ by generating when wind and solar energy output is low.

The CEO said Snowy Hydro takes its environmental responsibilities seriously.

Snowy Hydro will provide $10.5 million to offset any impacts from the Exploratory Works,” he said.

The NSW Government, which is responsible for allocating the offsets, has made the commitment that Snowy 2.0 offsets will be used by National Parks and Wildlife Service to support local environmental and recreational initiatives in Kosciuszko National Park.

Exploratory Works involve excavating an exploratory tunnel to gain a greater understanding of the underground geological conditions at the proposed location of the new Snowy 2.0 power station. The works also include upgrades and establishment of access roads, establishment of a construction compound and supporting infrastructure, and other activities.

Almost 50 years ago, exploratory tunnels were constructed for both Tumut 1 and Tumut 2 power stations, the two underground stations in the Snowy Scheme.

Snowy 2.0 will create jobs and economic opportunities across the Snowy Mountains – already more than 50 local businesses have been involved in the project, Mr Broad said.

In March 2018, Snowy 2.0 was declared NSW Critical State Significant Infrastructure, which provided a clear and well established framework for the project’s planning and environmental approval requirements.

An Environmental Impact Statement for Snowy 2.0 Main Works will be submitted to the NSW Government later this year.

SPILLWAY TO CLOSE, NEW

BEACH AREA IN ITS PLACE

The Talbingo spillway will be closed to the public The spillway is the site of a popular swimming area and is also a haven for boating enthusiasts.

The public boat ramp will remain open and Snowy Hydro has promised to build additional recreational facilities at the dam to offset the spillway closure.

Works on the new facility will include:

  • provision of pontoons for the mooring of boats to the north of the boat ramp;
  • provision of a new ‘beach’ area immediately south of boat ramp; which will include a swimming pontoon and an exclusive swimming area.
  • New picnic facilities and amenities at the beach area, including barbecues.

Three design options are under consideration for the additional recreational facilities and will be finalised following further consultation with the community and government agencies.

Public access to recreational facilities was raised in 77 per cent of community submissions, mostly regarding the spillway and boat ramp.

The boat ramp will be closed intermittently, primarily at the start of the exploratory works, typically of one to two hours, and Snowy Hydro will avoid peak visitor periods.

Meanwhile, a section of the Lobs Hole Road will remain open to the public, providing access to attractions such as Jounama Homestead.

Snowy Hydro had proposed closing the road at the Snowy Mountains Highway intersection.

The road will remain open to the public up to the Blue Creek Trail intersection.

Off limits throughout the work will be the popular Ravine campground, a section of the Lobbs Hole Ravine Road from the intersection of Link Road, in the south, and from Blue Creek Trail, in the north.

The middle Bay hand launching boat ramp is also off limits.