New data from the 2021 census has revealed that Country Universities Centres (CUCs) are leading the way in university student growth across regional NSW.

Over the past five years, university student numbers in NSW towns with CUCs grew by 24.7% compared with an average 5.4% for all non-metropolitan areas.

Snowy Hydro co-founded the very first CUC in Cooma in 2013 and remains an integral supporter of the higher education centre by jointly funding it together with Snowy Monaro Regional Council.

The CUC initiative enables regional and rural university students to study close to home in a campus-like environment with learning facilities, technology including access to computers, wifi, printers, video conferencing and support staff.

Snowy Hydro Acting CEO Roger Whitby said the long-running Cooma CUC partnership continues to be highly successful.

“CUCs are helping to stop the brain drain – they allow regional students to stay in their communities, have access to tertiary education in a supportive environment and ultimately provide local employers, including Snowy Hydro, with qualified workers,” Mr Whitby said.

“Typically there is a high drop-out rate with people studying online courses because they can feel isolated, so the CUC offers real benefits.”

Cooma has seen a university student increase of 64% over the last two census periods (2011-2021), compared with an average 17.5% for non-metro NSW. 

Following the success of the Cooma CUC pilot, a further five centres opened in Broken Hill, Goulburn, Grafton, Griffith/Leeton and Narrabri/Moree in 2018-19.

The network of centres has since grown to 20 regional communities across NSW, Queensland and Victoria with the additional support of the NSW Government and the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment through the Regional University Centres program.

Find out more about Snowy Hydro’s partnership with Country Universities Centre:

Students studying at university by locality

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census data 

CUC locations and year of openingIncrease 2011-2021Increase 2016-2021
Cooma (2013)* 64.1% 
Broken Hill (2018)22.8%
Goulburn (2018) 18.4%
Grafton (2019)32.3%
Griffith and Leeton (2019)33.8%
Narrabri and Moree (2019) 16.0%
CUC centre average increase24.7%
NSW university students – non-metro17.5%5.4%

*Only the Cooma CUC was operating during the 2016 Census.




Large crowds have turned out for a community open day and 50th birthday celebrations for the largest of the mighty Snowy Scheme’s power stations, Tumut 3, at Talbingo.

With the iconic white penstocks as backdrop, local community members and visitors today joined Snowy Hydro in acknowledging the remarkable role the Tumut 3 Power Station has played providing critical energy supply and water services to eastern Australia since 1972.

Snowy Hydro acting CEO Roger Whitby said Tumut 3 was the first and biggest pumped-hydro facility in Australia.

“The Snowy Scheme’s fast start, reliable clean energy generation keeps the lights on – literally – for millions of people and our pumped-hydro capability here at T3 is integral to this,” Mr Whitby said. “We generate at peak periods or when there is a shortfall of other energy sources, and pump when demand and wholesale energy prices are low, reusing and recycling the water.

“Tumut 3 Power Station has been operating reliably and safely for 50 years, with decades more service to come.

“The longevity of this asset is testament to its quality design, engineering, construction and maintenance. I would like to thank and express my appreciation to those who have played a part in Tumut 3’s history, especially those former workers who have attended the event today.”

Mr Whitby, along with the Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr and Snowy Valleys Council Mayor Ian Chaffey, led the official proceedings at the community open day. 

Visitors to the event enjoyed a range of activities including power station tours, bus tours of the reservoir and penstocks, live music, food vendors, and activities for the kids from Snowy Hydro’s Next Generation Education Hub and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Tumut 3 Power Station facts

  • T3 is the largest power station in the Snowy Scheme and the first pumped-hydro facility in Australia.
  • The station has a total generating capacity of 1,800MW. That is enough electricity to power more than half a million homes.
  • Three of the six units are capable of both generating and pumping, meaning that we can recycle water between Jounama Pondage and Talbingo Reservoir. 
  • Each of the penstocks are 488m long and 5.6m in diameter.
  • They are full all of the time, holding over 12,000 tonnes of water.
  • If all three pumps are running, water from Jounama Pondage is pumped at a rate of 297 cubic metres per second.
  • Talbingo Dam was completed in 1970 – the dam height is 161 metres.
  • Talbingo Reservoir’s gross capacity is 921,400,000m3, which is almost twice the size of Sydney Harbour.



Snowy Hydro is celebrating the completion of excavation for its first tunnel for Snowy 2.0, with the Lady Eileen Hudson tunnel boring machine (TBM) reaching the location of the new underground power station cavern.

The 11-metre diameter TBM has excavated 2.85km to create the main access tunnel at Lobs Hole in the Snowy Mountains, where a workforce of more than 2,200 people are building Snowy 2.0 – the 2,000 megawatt pumped hydro expansion of the mighty Snowy Scheme.

Snowy Hydro acting CEO Roger Whitby said the tunnelling achievement was a significant milestone, with Snowy 2.0 set to underpin the nation’s transition to renewables.

“Snowy 2.0 will not only provide on-demand, quick-start generating capacity for the National Electricity Market (NEM), but a massive 350,000 gigawatt hours of energy storage,” Mr Whitby said.

“This is our first new major tunnel excavation in decades, since construction of the original Scheme, and it gives us access to the site where we will create the enormous cavern 800m underground that will house our power station.

“The TBM Lady Eileen Hudson and our teams from Snowy Hydro and contractor Future Generation Joint Venture have done a great job to complete this critical tunnelling task.

“However, there’s no slowing down. Work across the project continues to move ahead rapidly and this tunnel boring machine is now being dismantled so it can be moved to the Talbingo adit where it will be reassembled with some new components for excavation of the 6km tailrace tunnel.”

While dismantling of the TBM conveyor belt gets underway in the main access tunnel, drill and blast activities are ongoing to excavate cross passages and tunnels to gain access to the power station complex, which will include a 251m-long, 52m-high machine hall cavern and 223m-long, 46m-high transformer hall cavern.

The new work fronts associated with the powerhouse will create further employment opportunities on this clean energy mega-project.

The Snowy 2.0 project will link Tantangara Reservoir (top storage) with Talbingo Reservoir (bottom storage) through 27km of tunnels and a power station with pumping capabilities.

This will enable water to be released for energy generation at times of peak demand and then pumped back to the top storage when there is excess renewable energy in the system, ready to generate again.

Main access tunnel fast facts:

  • 10 metres in diameter
  • Lined with 1,422 concrete rings installed by the TBM
  • Rings comprise 12,798 individual segments manufactured locally in Cooma
  • Has four cross-passages linking it to the adjacent emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel
  • Also has four cross tunnels and a turning bay to facilitate construction access around the power station complex
  • Provides pedestrian and vehicle access into the power station



It’s Tumut 3 Power Station’s 50th birthday and to mark the occasion, Snowy Hydro is celebrating with a community open day on Saturday 5 November!

We have a wide range of activities, tours and information sessions planned onsite at Tumut 3 (T3) in Talbingo, so register now – it’s easy, just visit our website and complete the online form.

Acting Snowy Hydro CEO Roger Whitby said the iconic white penstocks of T3 were known throughout Australia and a visit to the station would provide the public with an insight into Snowy Hydro’s operations.

“We are delighted to welcome the community to an open day at T3, which is the largest power station in the Snowy Scheme and the first and biggest pumped-hydro facility in Australia,” Mr Whitby said.

“We’re celebrating the station’s 50th birthday, which underlines the longevity and critical nature of the Snowy Scheme hydro generation and storage assets.

“We understand visiting T3 would be a major highlight for many people so we’re asking that everyone who intends to come along on Saturday 5 November registers online. 

“They will be contacted with important information prior to the event.”

Once you have registered for the Tumut 3 Power Station 50th celebration and open day, please plan your trip, as parking for private vehicles will be limited. There will also be bus transport available, with coaches departing from Tumut and Cooma on the day.

Open day highlights:

  • Tours of Tumut 3 Power Station
  • Bus tours to Talbingo Reservoir and the top of Tumut 3 penstocks.
  • Fun and educational activities hosted by the Snowy Hydro Next Generation education program. 
  • Local vendors will provide food and coffee throughout the festivities.
  • A range of activities and entertainment are also planned for the celebrations. 

Keep checking the official event web page, which will be progressively updated with information and stay tuned to Snowy Hydro’s social media channels.




Snowy Hydro’s Snowy 2.0 precast factory in Cooma has achieved an impressive milestone, with manufacturing completed for all concrete segments that will line the dry access tunnels.

More than 25,000 of these seven-tonne segments have been produced at the Polo Flat factory, which employs 120 people from the 2,100-strong Snowy 2.0 workforce. The segments are being used to line the main access tunnel and emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel at Lobs Hole.

In total, 36,000 or 27% of the 130,000-plus segments needed to line all of the Snowy 2.0 tunnels have now come off the Polo Flat production line, said Paul Broad, Snowy Hydro’s Managing Director and CEO.

“We’re proud to be manufacturing and investing locally, and providing employment opportunities for local people as well,” Mr Broad said. “The precast factory is operated by our principal contractor Future Generation Joint Venture and it is powering along.

“To efficiently and safely produce enough of these massive concrete segments to line the 5.6 kilometres of dry access tunnels is a terrific achievement.”

The factory supports the operation of the three Snowy 2.0 tunnel boring machines, which are excavating 27 kilometres of tunnels from Tantangara Reservoir to Talbingo Reservoir for the Snowy 2.0 pumped-hydro expansion of the Snowy Scheme.

The Polo Flat facility includes a concrete batching plant and segment manufacturing from two automated carousels, producing up to 24 rings, each one made of nine segments, per day.

Many of the raw materials like aggregates and sand are sourced from the local Schmidt Quarries at Mt Mary and Nimmitabel, which is reducing transport time and costs. Concrete is mixed within the batching plant, which is then transferred into the factory and poured into specially-designed moulds. 

With the use of innovative robotics, the moulds progress along the carousel as the segments cure and finish. There is an onsite laboratory and testing to check the quality of every segment produced.

Snowy 2.0 is leading the way in Australia to successfully deploy and use robots to automate the process of demoulding, cleaning and application of the release agent on the moulds, before pushing them through to the next production stage. This has allowed the factory to maintain a safe and low-noise working environment for workers. 

It takes approximately eight to 10 hours to cure and de-mould each segment from start to finish, then they are stored for about two weeks before being transported to site, loaded into TBMs and installed in the tunnels.


  • Number produced = 25,210
  • Distance if all these segments were placed side-by-side = 86.3 kilometres
  • Tonnes of concrete used = 151,260
  • Equivalent rings (nine segments per ring) = 2,802
  • These segments – designed to provide durability under extreme fire loads – have been laboratory tested for fire loads of 1,350 degrees Celsius for up to 120 minutes.

Snowy 2.0 project background: Snowy 2.0 is a nation-building project that will underpin thousands of megawatts of renewables and will continue to keep the lights on for generations to come.

Snowy 2.0 will link two existing Snowy Scheme reservoirs, Tantangara and Talbingo, and its new  power station with six pump-turbines will be located about 800m underground. Water in the top storage will be released for energy generation at times of peak demand and pumped back at times when there is excess renewable energy in the grid, so Snowy 2.0 is ready to meet demand when needed.




Snowy Hydro collects snow depth readings at a number of designated snow courses across the Snowy Mountains of NSW as required for operational purposes. Spencer’s Creek snow course is the most recognisable of these locations as it is often cited by nearby ski resorts as a proxy for the ‘natural snow depth’. Deep Creek and Three Mile Dam are also recorded and reported on Snowy Hydro’s website

The information gathered by Snowy Hydro is primarily used as an input into seasonal forecasts for inflow to the Snowy Scheme. With advances in technology and different methodologies employed, the need for manually measured snow depth readings at designated snow courses is in decline, particularly in the early part of the snow season where precipitation is typically adding to the snow pack more so than contributing to inflows.

In parallel, safety is Snowy Hydro’s number one priority. By reducing the frequency of snow depth readings, we reduce the need to send staff to remote locations in poor winter weather conditions. This means we can schedule this work to occur when conditions are safest to do so.

Snowy Hydro commenced monitoring in mid-June 2022. We will take readings on an as-needed basis. This is likely to result in irregular updates, and less frequently than has been observed in the past. Snowy Hydro will continue to update its website after each snow depth reading is collected.




Snowy Hydro is committed to ensuring the next generation of locals are equipped with the skills and knowledge to help keep them safe on the roads, with the long-running Young Driver Program playing a crucial role.

For four years Snowy Hydro has partnered with Driving Solutions to provide local students with young driver training. This month more than 275 local young people participated in the program, which helps prepare Learner and Provisional drivers for the driving conditions they face on Snowy Mountains roads.

Since its inception in 2002, the Snowy Hydro Young Driver Program has provided more than 1,600 local students with the opportunity to improve their driving skills and become safer drivers.

Snowy Hydro CEO and Managing Director Paul Broad said the program demonstrated Snowy Hydro’s continued commitment to the safety and well-being of young people living in the Snowy Mountains region. 

“The Snowy Hydro Young Driver Program delivers learning exercises and activities that give our local kids the skills and knowledge to help keep them safe on our unique and at times, challenging, mountain roads,” Mr Broad said.

“These young and inexperienced drivers gain so much from the program – it’s really valuable and we at Snowy Hydro are proud to play a part in ensuring greater safety on the roads where we live and work.”

The program covered topics such as correct seating position and the importance of understanding the difference between vehicles with anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and vehicles without ABS. Students were taught when to fit snow chains on their vehicles while travelling in snow and ice conditions. They were also shown the correct way to use and fit snow chains on a vehicle. 
The activities and exercises provided useful and practical knowledge to assist the students when behind the wheel. Topics included driver attitudes and the effects of distractions when driving, such as mobile phones, passengers and vehicle navigation. Other practical skills were also discussed including how to understand correct and incorrect tyre pressure on their vehicles. 




Snowy Hydro is carrying out a large project to refurbish the Murray 1 Power Station generator step-up transformers, a process that will significantly extend the life of these important Snowy Scheme assets.

Reconditioning and replacement of the bushings will help to increase the lifespan of the transformers by an extra 15 years. Under normal conditions, transformers are expected to operate for 30 to 40 years, but thanks to the thorough effort Snowy puts into maintaining its assets, the Murray 1 Power Station transformers will operate for many years to come – an amazing achievement. 

There have been a number of obstacles to overcome during the course of this project, including road closures along the Alpine Way due to natural incidents, weather extremes in the Snowy Mountains, and above all, COVID-19 and the closing of the border between New South Wales and Victoria. 

Murray 1 is located near Khancoban and Wilson Transformer Company (WTC), based in Melbourne, which was hired to do some of the important work, navigated a six-week   government approval process to cross the border from Victoria to work on the refurbishment through the pandemic.

WTC manufactured a purpose-built dry out tank at its Glen Waverley factory specifically for this major Snowy Hydro project.

The tank is utilised after the team has de-tanked the core and coils – which are then both put inside the dry-out tank. The team completes welding works and modification of the old transformer tank and lid, before re-tanking the unit into the original body.

There are two more Murray 1 transformer refurbishments and bushing replacements remaining, with the last scheduled to be completed in November 2022.

So far, the project has been highly successful, with approximately 100 workers involved, and no safety concerns or injuries. Snowy Hydro appreciates all those contributing to this project for prioritising safety and health above everything else. 

In addition, Snowy Hydro and WTC have worked with many local businesses in the construction, including electrical contractors PHE and Roddy Engineering, both based in Tumut, NSW.




Snowy Hydro and members of the local community have today come together to celebrate the commissioning of the third and final tunnel boring machine (TBM) for Snowy 2.0, Australia’s largest renewable energy project.

The 143 metre-long TBM Florence is one of a trio of technologically-advanced machines excavating more than 27 kilometres of waterway tunnels as part of Snowy 2.0, the huge pumped-hydro expansion of the iconic Snowy Mountains Scheme that is ensuring Australia’s secure and reliable transition to renewables.

Snowy Hydro Managing Director and CEO Paul Broad joined Snowy Mountains community members and representatives from Snowy 2.0 principal contractor Future Generation Joint Venture for a celebration event and ribbon-cutting at Tantangara, where TBM Florence is being launched to excavate the headrace tunnel.

Mr Broad said it was a wonderful experience sharing a significant project milestone with the community, former Snowy Scheme workers and local school children and businesses.

“We want to thank the local community for their support. It’s great knowing that this massive project is delivering thousands of jobs, many training and apprenticeship opportunities for workers, and a major economic boost for the Snowy Mountains region and beyond,” Mr Broad said.

“The progress we’re making on Snowy 2.0 is terrific. The other two TBMs, Lady Eileen Hudson and Kirsten, are already powering ahead excavating the main access tunnel and emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel at Lobs Hole, so we’re delighted to be starting this very long and deep headrace tunnel from Tantangara.

“Watching TBM Florence’s big blue cutterhead spin today alongside people who helped build the original Scheme highlights the pride we at Snowy Hydro have in our pioneering past and how exciting the renewable energy future is with Snowy 2.0.”

There are almost 1,800 people currently working on Snowy 2.0, including hundreds of locals, with the project generating about 4,000 direct jobs and many more in the supply chain.

Snowy 2.0 will deliver 2,000 megawatts of pumping and generating capacity and 175 hours of storage – enough to power 500,000 homes simultaneously – which will underpin thousands of megawatts of intermittent renewables. 

Named after Australia’s first female electrical engineer, Florence Violet McKenzie (1890-1982), TBM Florence is set to excavate 14.9 kilometres of the 17km headrace tunnel. The 11-metre diameter Herrenknecht-designed machine has been purposely designed to manage hazardous dust and poor ground conditions while tunnelling up to 450 metres underground.

TBM Florence was named by local Berridale student Riley Douch as part of the Snowy 2.0 Tunnel Boring Machine Naming Competition, which highlighted ground-breaking Australian women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
For more information about Snowy 2.0 visit


JINDABYNE LAKE LEVELS – Updated 21 March 2022


High inflows to the Snowy Scheme, including Jindabyne catchment, have continued through March.

As the lake level at Jindabyne approached 100% on 7 March, additional releases were made to the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam to manage the high inflows. These release have now tapered off, and will again follow the environmental release targets notified here:

The outlook as we head towards winter is for wet conditions to continue. Snowy Hydro will continue to pump water from Jindabyne to Geehi to be released through Murray 1 and 2 Power stations into the upper Murray River at every opportunity. Further releases to the Snowy River may still be required to avoid uncontrolled releases.

If Lake Jindabyne reaches 100%, it will trigger operation of the spillway gates. Dam safety is paramount at this time and the spillway gates will automatically release water at any time the storage reaches or exceeds 100%.
For the community, the most important message is to stay safe and well-informed. The public can stay updated about flood alerts here:

For more information about releases into the Snowy River visit and
Snowy Hydro will continue to keep the community informed about management of water in Lake Jindabyne through its website and social media channels.
DPE Water will engage with landowners subscribed to its SMS service.




Wet conditions have persisted through summer and are now continuing into autumn. Snowy
Hydro has been pumping water out of the Jindabyne catchment at every opportunity and has
gradually created a significant amount of reservoir airspace considering the conditions.
Weather forecasts are indicating substantial rainfall in the Snowy Mountains in the coming week,
particularly to the east of the Great Dividing Range, which includes Jindabyne’s catchment area.
Based on operational inflow forecasts, there is potential for the storage to reach 100% (full
supply level) by Tuesday 8 March.

To avoid uncontrolled spill, Snowy Hydro may make pre-releases into the Snowy River below
Jindabyne storage as early as Friday 4 March. To the extent pre-releases occur, they will be
greater than the environmental releases notified on Snowy Hydro’s website and may change at
short notice in response to the weather conditions. Releases could reach flow rates up to 3,000
megalitres per day, similar to the rates that were released in late December 2021 and early
January 2022.

If Lake Jindabyne reaches 100%, it will trigger operation of the spillway gates. Dam safety is
paramount at this time and the spillway gates will automatically release water at any time the
storage reaches or exceeds 100%.

NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE Water) has been consulted on this plan
and continues to work closely with Snowy Hydro to make controlled releases to manage the
spill risks and minimise downstream impacts.

For the community, the most important message is to stay safe and well-informed. The public
can stay updated about flood alerts here:
Bureau of Meteorology
NSW State Emergency Service and
Vic Emergency

For more information about releases into the Snowy River visit and

Snowy Hydro will continue to keep the community informed about management of water in
Lake Jindabyne through its website and social media channels.
DPE Water will engage with landowners subscribed to its SMS service, although the BOM and
SES remain the primary sources for up-to-date information and advice.




December 2021 was officially the wettest since records began for the Lake Jindabyne catchment and with over 160mm of rain so far, January isn’t too far behind. The lake level will continue to stay high throughout summer. 

Releases from Jindabyne Dam to the Snowy River returned to the advised environmental releases from 18 January. Additional flows above the notified environmental releases into the Snowy River are possible while wet conditions persist. Snowy Hydro will continue to look for opportunities to pump water to Geehi Reservoir, however, at times, the surplus of water pumped to Geehi will be returned to Jindabyne.

It remains possible that the storage may again reach 100% (or full supply level), triggering operation of the spillway gates. Dam safety is paramount at this time and the spillway gates will automatically release water at any time the storage reaches or exceeds 100%.

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE Water) has been consulted on this plan and continues to work closely with Snowy Hydro to make controlled releases to manage the spill risks and minimise downstream impacts.

For the community, the most important message is to stay safe and well-informed. The public can stay updated about flood alerts here:

For more information about releases into the Snowy River visit and

Snowy Hydro will continue to keep the community informed about management of water in Lake Jindabyne through its website and social media channels.