German firm tapped for Snowy turbines

German engineering and technology company Voitch has been handed the contract to supply the electrical and mechanical components for the the $5.1 billion Snowy 2.0 project.

Italian company Salini Impreglio and WA-based Clough last month were announced as the major contractors for the project.

Voith will supply the six reversible pump turbines for the project, each with a rated output of 333 megawatts. Three of the turbines will be variable speed.

Voith will also deliver six motor generators, the auxiliary systems and the complete power plant automation.

With the six units, Snowy 2.0 will achieve a total output of 2,000 megawatts and provide the national electricity market with 175 hours of continuous large-scale storage.

Voith said the tendering process took some two years.Voith Hydro successfully prevailed thanks to its know-how in pumped storage technology, Voith’s president and CEO Uwe Wehnhardt said.

At the heart of the innovative pumped storage technology, Mr Wehnhardt said, is a special asynchronous motor-generator, the doubly fed induction machine. Compared to a conventional synchronous machine, it decouples the mechanical speed from the constant frequency and can vary. As a result, the system reacts faster and more flexibly to active and reactive demands from the power grid. It also offers additional stability in the event of a voltage drop.

Currently, wind, solar and hydropower represent 17 percent of Australia’s total electricity generation.

Pumped storage systems are currently the most economically viable and technically proven form of storing electrical energy on a large scale. “Voith is very proud to be a part of this exciting and important hydropower project and to continue to contribute to Australia’s renewable energy development,” Mr Wehnhardt said.

Snowy 2.0 will connect the two existing dams of the Snowy Scheme, Tantangara Dam and Talbingo Dam, through underground tunnels and an underground power station with pumping and generating capacity. The underground power station will house the six reversible Francis-type pump turbines.

The capacity of the plant is designed for 2,000 megawatts and allows 175 hours of storage. The first power out of Snowy 2.0 is expected in late 2024.

Voith, founded in 1867, has more than 19,000 employees, sales of € 4.2 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide.

It’s  one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Hydro is part of the Voith Group.

Its portfolio of products and services covers the entire life cycle and all major components for large and small hydro plants, from generators, turbines, pumps and automation systems, right through to spare parts, maintenance and training services, and digital solutions for intelligent hydropower.