European-controlled companies have won two major tunnel contracts in Australia covering a 2,000 MW pumped storage scheme in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales and a privately financed railroad line in Brisbane, Queensland.

Valued at U.S. $3.6 billion, a contract for the civil and electromechanical works on the Snowy 2.0 hydro project went to the Future Generation joint-venture, which is 65% owned by Italy’s Salini Impregilo S.p.A and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction. Australia’s Clough Projects Pty. has the balance.

Owned by Snowy Hydro Ltd., the project includes around 27 km of 10-m-dia, concrete-lined tunnel between the existing Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs, both south-west of Cambera.

With 350 GWh of storage and 2,000 MW installed capacity, the project will allow Australia to smooth out the flow of the country’s increasing share of wind and solar generation, being installed to replace coal plants.

A roughly 17-km-long headrace tunnel from the high level Tantangara reservoir will lead to a 550 m drop into a planned power house, which will be excavated about 1 km below ground. From the powerhouse and transformer halls, both about 190 m long, water will flow though a roughly 10 km tailrace tunnel to Talbingo.

Government-owned Snowy Hydro already has nine hydro power plants, including two pumped storage installations in the area totaling 4,100 MW.

“Our group is expanding its activities in Australia by entering the hydro sector to help the country produce more clean energy,” said Pietro Salini, Salini Impregilo’s Chief Executive Officer. The company recently entered the market, focusing on transportation work.

While the Snowy Mountain team mobilizes, about 1,000 km up the coast in Brisbane, Spanish and Dutch-owned contractors have won a major slice of the city’s U.S. $3.8 billion Cross River Rail Project.

Work includes a 10.2-km-long railroad tunnel from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, including a 5.9-km-long, twin-bore crossing of the Brisbane River. Four new underground stations will also be built.

For the privately financed contract including the tunnels and stations, the state government has selected the Pulse consortium as preferred bidder. Pulse includes Netherlands-based wBAM PPP-PGGM, Pacific Partnerships, Ghella, DIF, BAM International, CPB Contractors, Ghella Investments and Partnerships, and UGL.

Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, and UGL are part of CIMIC Group, which is controlled by Germany’s Hochtief A.G., which is itself largely Spanish owned.

A joint venture of BAM International, CPB Contractors and Ghella Pty Ltd. will handle design and construction, while UGL will maintain the infrastructure for 24 years. BAM PPP-PGGM, Pacific Partnerships, Ghella Investments and Partnerships and DIF will provide equity funding.