Plans are underway to build a 350MW solar farm on land, that was once going to become an open cut mine, near Muswellbrook.
If anything looks like an energy transition then the proposed Edderton Solar Farm certainly fits that description.
Across land that was going to be the Drayton South open cut coal mine and next door to the BHP's Mount Arthur mine EDF Renewables Australia and Malabar Resources Ltd joint venture plan to develop a solar farm and battery storage system.
When the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission rejected Anglo American's proposed open cut adjacent to their exiting Drayton mine the the company left the Hunter Valley after closing Drayton mine.
The site was then sold to Malabar Resources who gained approval to operate an underground mine on the site.
Edderton Solar Farm and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will be constructed on land adjacent to Malabar Resources' Maxwell Underground Mine.
The site is near existing electricity infrastructure with Bayswater power station on the doorstep.
Malabar gained approval in August 2020 to built a 25MW solar farm so the latest venture is a far, far, more ambitious one.
"This joint venture will be a significant milestone in the development of the Hunter-Central Coast REZ, and we look forward to working closely with EDF Renewables and the local community," said Wayne Seabrook, Chairman of Malabar Resources.
The Edderton Solar Farm and BESS follow formal agreements signed in 2020 and 2021 by Malabar Resources and EDF Renewables to support the development of significant solar power and energy storage projects in the region.
The Edderton Solar Farm will have a capacity of around 350MW and will sit on approximately 1000 hectares across three 'islands' in a designated zone on Malabar's site, with a provision for a large-scale battery storage facility.
"The solar farm will significantly contribute to the region's energy mix, providing clean and reliable energy to 130,000 homes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Dave Johnson, CEO of EDF Renewables Australia.
EDF Renewables and Malabar Resources are currently consulting with the local community as part of the development of a scoping report for the Edderton Solar Farm and BESS, which will be submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in early 2024 to commence the planning process.
Community drop-in sessions will be held in November 2023 and February 2024, to ensure stakeholders are provided with adequate time to learn more about the project while avoiding the busy holiday period. More information is available at the project website, www.eddertonsolarfarm.com.au.
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