Snowy 2.0’s Florence proving a real stick-in-the-mud

One of the four tunnel boring machines for Snowy 2.0 (breakthrough)
One of the four tunnel boring machines for Snowy 2.0 (Image: Snowy Hydro)

Work has literally ground to a halt on Snowy 2.0, with tunnel boring machine (TBM) Florence still stuck in hard rock in the head race tunnel after becoming trapped in mid-May.

Related article: Government says Snowy 2.0 still viable despite cost blowout

Snowy Hydro said crews were using high-pressure water jets to try and dislodge Florence.

The massive pumped hydro project has been hampered by delays and cost blowouts. The target date for commercial operation of all units is December 2028, with first power expected in the second half of 2027.

“The high-pressure water jetting technique to remove the rock is ongoing,” Snowy Hydro said in a statement.

“This technique, conducted by specialist contractors since 21 May, is working well, with a device mounted on the cutterhead directing a high-pressure water stream at the rock, which breaks apart and disintegrates.

“We made the decision to stop tunnelling to ensure we did not damage TBM Florence.
The Snowy 2.0 project teams are monitoring progress of the rock removal so we can restart excavation.

Related article: Stirring films made the Snowy scheme a nationbuilding project. Could the troubled Snowy 2.0 do the same?

“We expect variable ground conditions to continue ahead of TBM Florence in the headrace tunnel, which will connect Tantangara Reservoir with the 2,200 megawatt Snowy 2.0 power station.”

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