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3 May 2023

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Large Hydro Project in Australia Now Delayed Until 2029

A large hydroelectric project owned by the federal government in Australia known as Snowy 2.0 has experienced delays, and the estimate is now that it won't be operational until 2029. The project cost has already reached almost Aus$6 billion (US$4 billion), and may rise by another two-thirds before its anticipated completion.

The project is located in the Snowy Mountains and River area of southeast Australia, in the region of the original Snowy hydro project, which was originally commissioned in 1959 and has grown incrementally to deliver about 500 megawatts (0.5GW) of steady-state electricity. Snowy 2.0 is envisioned as a 2GW project.

An article from ESG Impact Zone, which is a service of the IDCA Smart Nations Foundation, quotes Snowy Hydro CEO Dennis Barnes as saying, “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.”

However, the article, reported and written by Giles Parkinson, goes on to note, “The continued delays will frustrate and anger the projects many critics, and could have an impact on the pace of the energy transition away from coal because authorities had bet the house on this so called 'vanity' project. It has caused many other storage projects to be put on hold because of its sheer size, and it could have big implications for the future of other smaller pumped hydro projects because it will be more difficult to obtain finance.”

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