The most sophisticated tunnel-boring machine (TBM) for the construction of Snowy 2.0, the biggest renewable energy project in Australia, has passed the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT), making it ready to be shipped to the site where Snowy Hydro Ltd and Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo) will expand the Snowy Scheme’s network of hydro power stations in the Snowy Mountains and underpin the country’s transition to a low-carbon emissions future.
Webuild Chief Executive Pietro Salini and Webuild General Manager Global Operations Claudio Lautizi joined a video call for the virtual celebration of the TBM’s FAT along with Snow Hydro Managing Director and CEO Paul Broad, Future Generation joint-venture partner Clough Chief Executive, Peter Bennett, and Herrenknecht Chairman Martin Herrenknecht, whose company built and tested the TBM. Webuild leads the joint-venture, which also includes its U.S. subsidiary Lane. Future Generation will do the civil works and electromechanical component of Snowy 2.0.
The TBM’s special ability to excavate on an incline will allow it to bore the tunnel that will provide access to a cavern nearly one kilometre underground where the power station will be located.
Owned and managed by Snowy Hydro Ltd, one of the country’s largest energy companies, Snowy 2.0 will increase by 2,000 megawatts (MW) the generating capacity of the existing Scheme, which stands at 4,100 MW. Webuild’s Salini said:
“It is with great pride that we work on a project like Snowy 2.0 that will contribute to a future of more renewable energy for the country. The TBM’s successful testing is a milestone in a strategic project to which we offer our fullest commitment.”
Snowy Hydro’s Broad said it was great to have this TBM on its way to Australia, with the project full steam ahead at Lobs Hole in New South Wales, Australia. Broad said:
“The project is already employing 500 people and tunnelling will start by the end of the year. At 205 metres long and 11 metres in diameter, this TBM is large by global standards and has the big job of tunnelling emergency egress, cable and ventilation tunnel, the inclined pressure shaft and 2km of the headrace tunnel.”
Along with projects in sustainable mobility, renewable energy is part of Webuild’s focus on helping clients achieve Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. More than half of the new orders it acquired in 2019 related to hydro power, the first source of renewable energy in the world, responsible for 71% of all the energy produced by renewable sources. Webuild’s current projects provide clean energy to millions of people throughout the world while avoiding harmful emissions by about 14.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
Webuild’s strategy to invest heavily in sustainability has seen it rise in the ratings of global players that provide Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) solutions by as MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) ESG Research, Vigeo Eiris (Moody’s Group), CDP (formerly Carbo Disclosure Project) and ISS- Oekom.