Environmental Impact Statement for Muswellbrook's Maxwell Solar Farm now on public display

THE Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Malabar Coal's Maxwell Solar Farm at Muswellbrook is now on public display.

And, it will soon move into the "exhibition" phase of the planning process.

The 25MW proposal is slated to be located on rehabilitated land within the Maxwell Infrastructure site.

The solar farm, if approved, would have an annual energy generation of 60 GWH, providing energy for about 10,000 NSW homes - or nearly every residence in Muswellbrook and Singleton combined.

It will create roughly 50 local jobs during construction and up to two jobs during operation.

Malabar chairman Wayne Seabrook said the Maxwell Solar Farm would make great use of the rehabilitated land.

"We are really proud of this concept," he explained.

"Our solar farm is an interesting way for us to use land that was previously mined to deliver even more jobs to the local community and energy in to grid.

"As we have developed this proposal, we have taken the time to meet with neighbouring landholders and the local community to gather and incorporate their feedback into our plans.

"We have also rigorously and independently assessed any potential environmental impacts.

"The EIS is available on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/9626.

"We encourage locals to read the EIS and have their say on the project by lodging a submission when it shortly moves into the exhibition phase."

The solar farm would connect to the network via either an existing substation located on the Maxwell Infrastructure site, or via the construction of a new transmission line to connect to the network.

It is expected to operate for 30 years, with the construction phase to start in early 2021.

In addition to the solar farm, the proposal sets aside an area on the Maxwell Infrastructure site for a future battery facility to store energy on-site, subject to another development approval.

Malabar acquired the old Drayton mine site (now the Maxwell Infrastructure) in early 2018.

By January 2020, more than 700 hectares will have been rehabilitated to pasture and native woodland.

Malabar is also proposing an underground, coking coal mine, known as the Maxwell Underground, at neighbouring EL5460.

The public exhibition period for the Maxwell Underground concluded in September, with nearly three quarters of all submissions supporting the project.

The company's Response to Submissions Report was lodged on November 20.

Both documents are available on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.