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.