Snowy Hydro signs wind and solar deals

Snowy Hydro, Snowy 2.0

Snowy Hydro has signed eight wind and solar contracts in what they’ve labelled ‘game-changing’ deals in order to provide cheaper energy to 500,000 households.

The eight projects, totalling 888 megawatts (MW), are located across New South Wales and Victoria and are expected to generate about 2.8 terawatt hours of energy annually.

The renewable energy generation will be ‘firmed’ by existing Snowy Hydro assets, with the generator hoping it will bring competition to the market, pricing at below $70/MWh for a flat load for up to 15 years.

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While Snowy Hydro is a key provider of fast-start ‘capacity’ type products, the company doesn’t generate enough energy from its own power stations, so has to purchase from the wholesale market. It is one of the largest buyers in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

More than 17,600MW of projects were submitted through the procurement process of its Renewable Energy Procurement Program, with all eight winning projects expected to come online within the next two years.

Snowy Hydro’s existing hydro, gas and diesel assets give the company the ability to ‘firm’ up vast amounts of intermittent renewable generation to ensure energy is available when needed.

While the energy output of individual projects varies, Snowy Hydro’s power stations can work in combination with wind and solar, creating more reliable energy.

Snowy Hydro owns Red Energy and Lumo Energy, which together have more than one million customers.

Snowy Hydro 2.0, a proposed pumped-hydro expansion of the Snowy Mountains Scheme which will supercharge its existing hydro-electric generation and large-scale storage capabilities is still in the approvals process.

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Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the deals are a step in the right direction.