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High country NSW towns already seeing impact of Snowy Hydro 2.0

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Local residents living in the Snowy Mountains region are excited about the prospects of the new Snowy Hydro scheme, known as Snowy 2.0.

Snowy Hydro Limited is undertaking a feasibility study to investigate the expansion of the pumped hydro electric storage in the Snowy Mountain scheme.

The study will see increased traffic from trucks, site inspections and the drilling of some bore holes.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council administrator Dean Lynch said the town had already seen a jump in employment and economic activity since the announcement of the feasibility study.

"While mechanisation means that we won't see the size of the workforce that was in the original Snowy Hydro project, I understand a lot of the initial work will involve drill and blast technology," he said.

"This project will bring jobs and wealth to the region, and we're lucky we have all tiers of government behind the project."

Retired Snowy engineers see challenges ahead

Retired engineer and Cooma resident Ian Hampton worked on the old Snowy Hydro scheme in the 1970s.

"I am in favour of the scheme but it is not going to be easy," he said.

"From an engineering point of view the scale of the drilling has never been undertaken in Australia at that level. It has happened overseas but never in Australia.

"But I think it is a worthy project and I am pleased the PM has supported it."

Mr Hampton said Australia needed more access to clean renewable energy.

"This scheme will also provide the storage that can underpin the baseload power," he said.

"That will protect the community from blackouts and unreliable energy supply.

"Building it will be a difficult task with many kilometres of tunnelling into rock, and then there is the question of what to do with the waste from the drilling.

"There are still sites full of waste from the old scheme that could do with a clean-up."

Old scheme a massive undertaking

The original project was Australia's biggest public works scheme and it had profound implications for Australian engineering, agriculture and for cultural diversity.

The majority of workers were migrants who travelled to Australia after World War II.

More than 100,000 people from over 30 countries travelled to work in the mountains in south-eastern NSW to work on the scheme between 1949 and 1974, with up to 7,000 workers on the site at any one time.

Source: ABC News

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