The multibillion dollar Snowy Hydro 2.0 project has been hit by a two year delay as it faces another cost blowout. It was recently estimated the scheme was as much as $2 billion over its budget.
Snowy Hydro CEO Dennis Barnes admits the increasing costs of materials, issues with tunnelling machines and the impact of the pandemic means the project won't be completed until close to the end of the decade.
"Since joining Snowy Hydro earlier this year I have focused on ensuring our major projects are placed on a realistic and sustainable footing, while maintaining construction progress," Mr Dennis said.
"This project is critically important to the transition of Australia's electricity grid and it's crucial that we are working to a safe, efficient and realistically achievable timeframe to enable orderly planning for all our stakeholders. I am committed to being transparent about our progress and how we are proactively managing the inevitable issues and challenges that arise in a complex project like this."
"While many other major infrastructure projects have been impacted by the same challenges, Snowy 2.0 continues to make positive progress."
According to the new timeline released by the Snowy Hydro management team, first power could be generated by the project by mid-2027 at the earliest.
Other reasons cited for the delay include:
Greens leader Greens leader Adam Bandt is calling for the issues surrounding the project to be fully examined.
"There's significant problems with some instructions that Snowy Hydro got from the last government that haven't been fully addressed by this government," Mr Bandt said.
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Mr Dennis maintains Snowy 2.0 is providing significant employment and economic benefits both regionally and domestically.
"There are currently over 2,400 people employed on the project and thousands more jobs generated indirectly through supply chains and support services," Mr Dennis said.
"TBM Kirsten has tunnelled 2.9 km to reach the underground power station cavern complex and we now have access to this site from both ends. We shortly expect to commence the 6km tailrace tunnel that will feed into Talbingo Reservoir and the excavation of intakes at Talbingo and Tantangara are proceeding very well."
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