Australian power generation company Snowy Hydro has updated the schedule and budget for the completion of the Snowy 2.0 project, as part of an ongoing project review.

Snowy 2.0 is an expansion of a network of hydropower stations in the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme, operated by Snowy Hydro in southeast Australia.

The timeline for full commercial operation of all units has been delayed by additional 12 months, from the initially announced December 2028 to December 2029.

Future Generation Joint Venture (FGJV), the principal contractor for the project, has achieved significant progress on the Snowy 2.0 project.

However, there are delays to the project’s contracted schedule and likely cost impacts beyond the contingency allowed, which remain under review.

Snowy Hydro said that it will disclose further details about the impact of the delays on the project budget by around July 2023, and will discuss them with key project stakeholders.

Snowy Hydro CEO Dennis Barnes said: “Since joining Snowy Hydro earlier this year I have focused on ensuring our major projects are placed on a realistic and sustainable footing, while maintaining construction progress.

“This project is critically important to the transition of Australia’s electricity grid and it’s crucial that we are working to a safe, efficient and realistically achievable timeframe to enable orderly planning for all our stakeholders.

“I am committed to being transparent about our progress and how we are proactively managing the inevitable issues and challenges that arise in a complex project like this.”

Snowy Hydro has attributed the delay in schedule and a potential increase in costs to four primary categories of factors.

The factors include the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the effect of global supply chain disruption and inflation on the cost and availability of a skilled workforce, materials, and shipping.

Design elements require more time to complete due to technical complexity, and the impact of variable site and geological conditions.

The project encountered soft ground, which is most impactful in delaying tunnel boring machine (TBM) Florence’s progress at Tantangara, said the Australian power company.

Barnes added: “While many other major infrastructure projects have been impacted by the same challenges, Snowy 2.0 continues to make positive progress.

“Snowy 2.0 is providing significant employment and economic benefits both regionally and domestically. There are currently over 2,400 people employed on the project and thousands more jobs are generated indirectly through supply chains and support services.

“TBM Kirsten has tunnelled 2.9km to reach the underground power station cavern complex and we now have access to this site from both ends.

“We shortly expect to commence the 6km tailrace tunnel that will feed into Talbingo Reservoir and the excavation of intakes at Talbingo and Tantangara are proceeding very well.”