Snowy 2.0 Doesn’t Stack Up

Snowy 2.0, the 2,000 megawatt pumped hydro battery, was announced on 15 March 2017.

It was to be built by 2021, for $2 billion, fully funded by Snowy Hydro Ltd at no cost to the taxpayer, have minimal environmental impact, provide renewable energy and reduce electricity prices. None of those claims has eventuated. 

The case for Snowy 2.0 doesn’t stack up economically, technically or environmentally. Simply, it is the wrong project in the wrong location. There are better alternatives, ones that avoid catastrophic impacts on Kosciusko National Park. 

While NPA strongly supports a rapid shift to renewable energy to decarbonise the electricity sector and supports pumped hydro as a component of this shift, it opposes Snowy 2.0. 

Take Action

We need your help! Please send a letter to the NSW Planning and Environment Ministers today. Say no to overhead transmission lines through Kosciuszko National Park!

Open Letters

Open letters to the Prime Minister and NSW Premier, and the NSW Planning Minister and NSW Environment and Energy Minister from groups of eminent experts in the energy and environment sectors opposing Snowy 2.0. 

18 Jan 2021 Letter to NSW Planning Minister and Environment and Energy Minister, with Background Paper and Addendum, from two dozen environmental groups and 50 experts, titled “Snowy 2.0 transmission must be underground” 

6 Apr 2020 Letter to NSW Planning Minister and Environment and Energy Minister, from 17 environmental organisations and nine experts, titled “Approving the Snowy 2.0 EIS would have unprecedented environmental ramifications” 

24 Mar 2020 Letter to Prime Minister and NSW Premier from 30 experts, titled “Expensive, damaging and unnecessary Snowy 2.0 must be publicly reviewed before proceeding” 

17 Sep 2020 Letter to Prime Minister and NSW Premier, from 37 experts titled “Adverse revelations continue – Snowy 2.0 folly demands urgent review”Shape 

Research Papers

NPA Paper: Snowy 2.0 claims don’t stack up, 26 Feb 2020 

NPA Paper: Snowy 2.0 Doesn’t Stack Up, 15 Oct 2019 

Fact sheet: Snowy 2.0 Doesn’t Stack Up, 15 Oct 2019 


HumeLink Stage 1 Contingent Project Application (to AER), 30 May 2022, submitting that the AER’s processing of TransGrid’s CPA should be placed on hold until the PACR and its preferred Option 3C are comprehensively assessed 

NPA Paper on Snowy 2.0 Transmission Connection RTS/PIR, 31 Mar 2022, submitting that the RTS/PIR does not provide any basis for concluding that overhead transmission is the best option for connecting the Snowy 2.0 power station to the grid. Approval should be denied and a fresh set of SEARS issued for an underground connection. 

Snowy 2.0 Main Works Modification, 6 Nov 2021, opposing the project but offering conditional support for the proposed Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) between Lobs Hole and Marica as it involves less environmental impact than the alternate overhead lines 

Snowy 2.0 Transmission Connection Project EIS, 2 Apr 2021, opposing overhead line transmission 

KNP Plan Of Management proposed amendment, 22 Mar 2021, strenuously opposing the proposed amendment to Section 12.6 of the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management to exempt the Snowy 2.0 Project from the requirement that ‘all additional telecommunication and transmission lines (are) to be located underground’ 

Snowy 2.0 Main Works EIS, 6 Nov 2019, opposing the project 

Exploratory Works EIS Modification 2, 21 Nov 2019, opposing the modification 

Exploratory Works EIS Modification 1, 8 Jul 2019, opposing the fragmented approach to approving segments of the project 

Snowy 2.0 Main Works Preferred Infrastructure Report, 20 Mar 2020, remaining firmly of the view that the environmental impacts of the proposal are entirely inappropriate in a protected area and that the Minister should deny project approval 

NPA Judicial Review Summons, 17 Aug 2020, seeking orders to quash the approval of the Snowy 2.0

TV Segments

Snowy 2.0 tunnel-boring machine grinds to halt and hole appears on surface, ABC 7.30, 13 Feb 2023

Snowy 2.0 is massively over budget and running way behind schedule, ABC 7.30 Report, 17 June 2022 

Critics of Snowy Hydro 2.0 say project could be a costly mistake, ABC 7.30 Report, 15 Oct 2019 

Snowy Hydro 2.0 a costly white elephant that won’t deliver, says energy expert, ABC, 14 Oct 2019 

Snowy Mountains Scheme, Utopia, 29 Aug 2014 

Articles & Media Releases

NPA media releases


Major Snowy 2.0 tunnelling operation on hold after NSW government intervenes

Disastrous tunnelling delays underline folly of Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme, RenewEconomy, 12 Feb 2023

Snowy Hydro finally fesses up on delays to Snowy 2.0, and for Kurri Kurri too

Former energy boss sounds $10b warning on Snowy 2.0, AFR 15 Oct 2019 

Snowy 2.0 power lines clearing ‘will despoil’ long swathe of Kosciuszko national park, wildlife groups say 

Five years on, Snowy 2.0 emerges as a $10 billion white elephant, SMH 15 Mar 2022 

Snowy 2.0 Impacts

The potential impacts of Snowy 2.0 are staggering:

  • The ‘project area’ described in the EIS is 250,000 ha, one third of Kosciuszko National Park and three times the size of metropolitan Sydney.
  • The EIS seriously understates the full environmental impact on the Park, which, when vegetation clearance, earthworks, dumping and damage to streams and water-dependant ecosystems are included will exceed 10,000 ha. 
  • Even the EIS admits that the Main Works will ‘disturb’ 1,680 ha, clear 1,053 ha of native vegetation and destroy 992 ha of threatened species habitat.
  • 14 million cubic metres of excavated spoil, some of which contains asbestos and/or is acidic, will be dumped in Kosciuszko National Park. Most of the spoil will go into Talbingo and Tantangara Reservoirs, decreasing their storage capacities, with the remainder to go into roads or to ‘landscape’ the park.
  • Major infrastructure, including the widening and construction of 100 km of roads and tracks are proposed throughout the project area. Some of which will destroy sensitive environmental and geological significant areas. Under normal circumstances these would not be allowed within a National Park, so why under Snowy 2.0?
  • Two side-by-side high voltage transmission lines for 10 km through the Park, with a 120m wide easement swathe.
  • Snowy 2.0 requires tunnelling through 27 kms of rock. This will depress the water table in some sections by more than 50 m and have an impact for up to 2 kms either side of the tunnel. This will lead to montane streams and water dependant alpine bogs drying up, further impacting upon vulnerable habitats and native species. It will also lead to a reduction of inflows to Snowy reservoirs and downstream rivers. These river systems are already under threat from feral animals and global heating. Any works that threaten water quality and quantity must be avoided. 
  • Noxious pests and weeds will be spread throughout the Snowy Scheme and downstream, including Redfin Perch (a Class One Noxious Pest) and aquatic weeds.  These pests and weeds will be transported from Talbingo Reservoir up to pest-free Tantangara, the Upper Murrumbidgee catchment, and then to Eucumbene and throughout the Snowy Scheme and downstream rivers.
  • Kosciuszko National Park is one of the most loved and frequently visited Parks in Australia. Snowy 2.0 will put off future visitors by its visual blight on the pristine montane landscape from vantage points over thousands of square kilometres.  Who wants to see transmission lines and major civil engineering structures in a natural landscape? And who will want to fish in Tantangara anymore, with introduced pest species?
  • The EIS contains a totally incomplete and inadequate assessment of alternatives to Snowy 2.0.  How can such an environmentally destructive development be proposed without an exhaustive exploration of viable alternatives? Kosciuszko is a National Park, not an industrial park!
  • Snowy Hydro claims that Snowy 2.0 will benefit the renewable energy sector.  Yet, for the next decade or so, most of the pumping electricity for Snowy 2.0 will come from coal-fired power stations, not renewables. Worse still, Snowy 2.0 will be a net consumer of electricity, not a generator, with ‘round-trip’ losses of 30%, plus another 10% for transmission.
  • Not only is Snowy 2.0 environmental vandalism, it isn’t economic.  The original $2 billion cost estimate is now approaching $10 billion, including transmission.
  • Many other pumped storage opportunities have been identified in NSW with a combined capacity considerably greater than Snowy 2.0. Why were these alternatives, together with batteries and other forms of storage, not explored before proposing construction of such a huge project within a National Park?

Never before has a project of such immense size and environmental destruction been proposed within a National Park.

Please donate to support this campaign and our advocacy work protecting nature through community action. Thank you.

Handwriting a letter to political decision makers:

It’s easy, it’s fun, & surprisingly powerful

It is important that we, as nature lovers, tell decision makers where we stand on environmental issues. At NPA, we strive to provide timely and helpful information about upcoming opportunities to  use emails, letters or petitions to advocate for better environmental outcomes. 

Now that formal submissions have closed on the EIS for the Snowy 2.0 transmission connection, we need to maintain pressure on the Minister for Environment to protect Kosciuszko National Park by insisting that any new transmission connections are built underground.  

Ministers and MPs acknowledge that a handwritten letter has a far greater personal impact than any number of emails.  Kosciuszko deserves every effort we can make, and so we’re asking you to 

Dust off your favourite fountain pen and write a personal letter to the Minister for Environment & Energy, Matt Kean

Please tell Matt Kean, the Minister who is supposed to stand up as the protector of our national parks, how you feel about carving a slash  through Kosciuszko National Park by clearfelling more than a hundred hectares of threatened species habitat.  The alternative is so simple, just put the lines underground to protect the park. 

Send your handwritten letters to NPA NSW

PO Box 528, Pyrmont NSW 2009

letters must be received by Friday 7th May

FYI: Link to Snowy 2.0 campaign webpage for more information

How to write a persuasive letter

  • A typed letter is good but a handwritten one is even better.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Just one page and always best to focus on just the one issue.
  • Identify yourself. In the first paragraph of your letter, describe yourself (e.g. NPA member, bushwalker, NPWS passholder, local resident, concerned citizen, etc).
  • Focus on the issue you want to raise. Use no more than three points to make your case why change is needed. 
  • Make it personal. Tell them why the issue is important and how it affects you, your family and community. 
  • We are not all experts on every issue, but we’re all entitled to a view.  It’s generally better to state how you feel about the issue rather than listing facts.
  • Ask for a reply. Include your name and address on both your letter and envelope. 
  • Letters from constituents of the local Member of Parliament always carry the most weight.  
  • People living in Hornsby electorate are in the best position to influence Matt Kean, so please reach out to any family or friends who are local constituents and encourage them to send a letter. 

NPA would like to collect copies of letters to be presented to Minister Kean before the decision is made on the project, so we need lots of letters to make an impact. We may use quotes from letters for media purposes, but names will be withheld.