Snowy Hydro Limited and the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Australia (SMEC) will join forces once again to carry out the feasibility study into the potential expansion of the Snowy Scheme's pumped hydro storage capability.
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Snowy Hydro and SMEC have a long association and worked together from the earliest days of the 4100MW Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme's development.

Selected through a tender competitive process that attracted interest from a field of world-class engineering firms, SMEC has now been appointed as the lead consultant engineer for the feasibility study into the first major expansion of the Scheme since the days of its construction.

"SMEC was the obvious choice to partner with us on the study, given we share the same DNA - it really is a case of getting the band back together," Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said.

"The task now will be to bring together our best and brightest to revisit some of the visionary proposals developed over many years by the talented men and women who built the Scheme."

The feasibility study will first review existing proposals to expand pumped hydro storage on the Snowy Scheme, many of which have existed since the 1960's.

Under the most likely proposal, up to 2000MW of hydro-electric energy could be added to the grid to act as rapid response back-up during periods of high demand and fill the gaps in energy supply caused by the growth in intermittent renewables and the exit of thermal baseload power. 

The pumped hydro capabilities means the water utilised for electricity generation can be recycled to provide supply when it's needed most with no impact on the Scheme's ability to continue to supply valuable water to irrigators in the food bowl of south-eastern Australia.

"This project has the potential to deliver one of the largest pumped hydro schemes in the world and underscores the importance of the Scheme's existing role as the battery of the National Electricity Market," Broad said.

"While it has long been an Australian engineering icon, the importance of the Snowy Scheme's role as the battery storage of the NEM will only become more critical as we move to a low carbon economy.

"The reliable, fast-start Scheme can help to responsibly manage the exit of baseload thermal power and the rise of intermittent renewables.

"As we move through the feasibility study phase, we will gain greater clarity around the technical and engineering requirements for the expansion, as well as costs and timeframes for its construction."

According to SMEC CEO Andy Goodwin, the Snowy Mountain is part of their namesake and the backbone of their heritage.

"So the chance to be involved in this project again is a unique twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity, both for our organisation and those engineers who worked on the original scheme," Goodwin said.

"The Snowy 2.0 project will provide us with new design challenges from its predecessor and we've created a team of our most experienced specialists to deliver the feasibility stage.

"We're honoured to be part of the project and looking forward to resuming our presence within the Cooma community again."