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Fri January 28 2022

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Webuild commissions Herrenknecht TBM

6 Dec 21 Webuild and its partners in Future Generation JV have commissioned the second – and most advanced – of three tunnel boring machines (TBMs) being deployed for Australia’s largest renewable energy project.

Australia’s prime minister joined representatives of Future Generation and the client Snowy Hydro for the commissioning of TBM Kirsten, which will be put to work on the Snowy 2.0 pumped-storage scheme.

Kirsten has been built specifically for Snowy 2.0 by Herrenknecht in collaboration with Webuild. The TBM has been named after Australian astrophysicist Kirsten Banks.

TBM Kirsten is a single-shield, open-mode machine designed to deal with hard rock conditions. Its most innovative feature is its ability to excavate at steep angles: up to 9% (five degrees) on declines and up to 47% (25 degrees) on inclines.

The TBM has a diameter of approximately 11m and can excavate up to 30 cubic metres of rock per day. At 205m in length, it is one of the longest of its kind in operation in the world.

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It will be responsible for the emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel, inclined pressure shaft and 2km of the headrace tunnel - more than 6km of tunnelling.

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click to enlarge

Approximately 1,400 people are working on Snowy 2.0, with 150 local businesses involved. Approximately 4,000 jobs are expected to be created during the life of the project. It is being built by Future Generation - a joint venture between Webuild, Australian partner Clough and Lane Construction, which is a US subsidiary of Webuild. Snowy 2.0 will link the existing Talbingo Reservoir with Tantangara Reservoir through a network of tunnels. It will provide 2,000MW of fast-start, energy and provide 350,000 megawatt hours of storage, enough to power the equivalent of 500,000 homes for over a week during peak demand.  

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, industry, energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor and Paul Broad, chief executive of Snowy Hydro, attended the commissioning ceremony at Lobs Hole where the TBM is beginning its journey. Marco Assorati, Webuild executive director Asia Pacific, also took part.

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