The state government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has issued planning approval for the main works for the A$4.6bn ($3bn), Snowy Hydro 2.0 hydropower project.

The Snowy Hydro 2.0 project involves the expansion of the existing Snowy Hydro-operated 4.1GW Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Located in New South Wales, Australia, the Snowy Mountains Scheme has been in service for the last five decades.

In addition to increasing the Snowy Mountains Scheme’s existing capacity by 2GW, the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project will ensure increased stability and security to the energy market in the future.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said: “Snowy Hydro is an icon of our community, with Snowy 2.0 already employing about 500 people, directly injecting more than $35 million into the Snowy Mountains and involving more than 100 local businesses.

“This latest approval will see the creation of an extra 2,000 jobs during the construction phase, unlock billions of investment in regional NSW and allow the next stage of construction to further progress this legacy project.”

The Snowy Hydro 2.0 project involves the construction of a pumped-hydro power station about 800m underground. It also includes the construction of 27kms of tunnels between the Talbingo and Tantangara Reservoirs.

Snowy Hydro, which is currently undertaking exploratory works on-site, plans to submit the application to the Federal Government for final approval.

Snowy Hydro 2.0 project’s main works to start in coming months

The main works for the project, which will provide the electricity required to power 500,000 homes during peak demand, is scheduled to start in the coming months.

NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said: “The projects approval also requires Snowy Hydro to invest almost $100 million for biodiversity and environmental offsets to protect threatened species and deliver long-term conservation and recreational benefits for the Kosciuszko National Park.”

Last year, a joint venture of Salini Impregilo and Australia’s Clough won a contract to undertake civil works and electromechanical component of the Snowy 2.0 project.