About Middlebrook Solar Farm

The proposed Middlebrook Solar Farm (MSF) is a solar farm and energy storage project located near Middlebrook Rd, Loomberah in the New England region of northern NSW. The project area is approximately 22 km south of Tamworth and is currently under development by TotalEnergies.

The solar farm portion of the project is comprised of multiple land parcels adjacent to Middlebrook Road with a potential capacity of up to 320 MWac. 

Middlebrook Energy Storage System will be a large AC-coupled battery with up to       300 MW / 780 MWh capacity. 

March 2023 update:

  • The proposed Middlebrook Solar Farm is currently undertaking public consultation and is expected to be completed by June 2023;
  • TotalEnergies is committed to being open and transparent and will ensure that community members have sufficient opportunities to provide feedback throughout the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phase.
    • Your ongoing feedback is very important to us, and we encourage you to complete the community feedback survey here.

April 2023 update:

  • Members from the TotalEnergies and NGH teams will be facilitating a Community Information Drop-In Session on Thursday the 27th of April between 11am and 7pm at the Tamworth West Diggers Club, and our team welcomes the opportunity to discuss the proposal with you.

May 2023 update:

Thank you to those who attended our community information session on Thursday, the 27th of April at the Tamworth West Diggers Club. We were fortunate enough to discuss the project with a large number of attendees who provided beneficial insight to the project team.

It was a great event and we look forward to further discussions with the local community.

Next steps

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently underway for the Middlebrook Solar Farm. The EIS is on track to be completed and delivered to the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) by June. 

Once submitted, DPE will publish the EIS via exhibition for a minimum of 28 days for community and agency comment. Once the exhibition period is complete, there will be the opportunity for TotalEnergies to respond to comments received during the exhibition period prior to the proposal being evaluated by DPE. It is expected the Middlebrook Solar Farm will go on exhibition in July.

Your ongoing input is important to us. Should you have any questions about the project, please send an email to engage@nghengage.com.au.

July 2023 update:

The Middlebrook Solar Farm Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was submitted late last month and is now on the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) web portal from Friday, July 7, until Thursday, August 3.

NEXT STEPS

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been completed and is now available on the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).

Middlebrook Solar Farm EIS

The public exhibition period will last a minimum of 28 days. Your submission can be made directly to the DPE via their website during this time. Your submission may show support, object to, comment on or seek clarification around any matter of interest to you.

All issues raised during the exhibition period must be addressed in a Submissions Report, which will also be exhibited.

After the exhibition period ends, DPE will assess the EIS and the Submissions Report responses before making a recommendation (including either condition of consent or reasons for refusal) to the Minister or their delegate for determination. 

Your ongoing input is important to us. Should you have any questions about the project, please email us at contact@middlebrooksolarfarm.com.au

March 2024 update:

Following the conclusion of the public exhibition of the EIS, our team has been working hard to review and address the issues raised in submissions and have prepared a report documenting our responses to these issues (Submissions Report).

You will be able to read the Submissions Report as soon as it is published on the NSW Government’s major projects website at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/middlebrook-solar-farm. Here, you can also access the amendment report which outlines the changes to the Project since the EIS (the Amendment Report), as well as the additional assessments undertaken since the public exhibition of the EIS.

Briefly, as a result of our review of the submissions and further considering the technical requirements for the Project, we are proposing the following changes to the Project, as reflected in our Amendment Report:

  1. refinement to seal the section of Middlebrook Road located between New England Highway and the Project main site access point;
  2. amendment to concentrate the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) instead of distributing it across the site. This will allow the BESS to provide system strength for the grid network;
  3. amendment to create a second site access point for the Project near the proposed substation for limited secondary use and increased safety;
  4. amendment to create a second east-west connecting access point across Middlebrook Road near the Project site’s southern boundary; and
  5. amendment to reduce the width of the Banyandah Creek waterway crossing shown on the development footprint.

In addition, subject to further consultation with key stakeholders and detailed design phase requirements, we are considering a further amendment to relocate or terminate one or more 11kV distribution lines within the development footprint.

We have updated the development footprint to reflect the above changes where required. The changes to battery and access arrangements will improve the Project’s overall performance. The purpose of certain of these other changes is also to further reduce potential and residual impacts on biodiversity and increase fire management initiatives.

All other Project infrastructure elements remain as presented in the EIS.

 

100%
Feasibility and Land Security

100%
Environmental Studies

80%
Planning Application & Approval

65%
Grid Connection & Procurement

60%
PPAs & Financing

Planning Progress

The Middlebrook Solar Farm (the Project) is made up of multiple land parcels located 22km South of Tamworth.

    The proposed solar farm is subject to final design and has an expected capacity of up to 320 MWac. The project is located around 4 km east of the New England Highway and will connect into one of the two existing 330 kV transmission lines.

      The NSW Planning Department is currently undertaking the planning assessment for Middlebrook Solar Farm following the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submission. The specialist assessments that were required are within the EIS.

        NEXT STEPS
        1. The Department of Planning and Environment and other relevant government agencies will review the Submissions Report and the updates.
        2. The Department will prepare an assessment report for the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) to continue the planning process.
        3. The Commission will likely undertake the following:
        (a) review the material provided;
        (b) conduct a site inspection;
        (c) meet with us;
        (d) hold a public meeting/hearing; and
        (e) make a determination.

        More information on the IPC’s role in the planning process can be found on the IPC’s website at https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au. The key features of the Proposal include the following:

        • up to 320 MWac solar PV farm;
        • solar panel arrays installed on single-axis tracking technologies;
        • PV inverter collection boxes;
        • onsite medium voltage cabling and electrical connections;
        • a 330 kV onsite collector substation and switching station;
        • onsite energy storage facility (up to 300MW/780MWh); and
        • associated project infrastructure.

About Proponent

The proponent of the Project was previously called Total Eren Australia Pty Ltd (TE). In August 2023, following acquisition by Total Energies SE, TE changed its name to TotalEnergies Renewables Australia Pty Ltd (TERA). TotalEnergies Renewables Australia Pty Ltd continues to build, own and operate renewable energy assets in Australia.

TERA is a leading power producer specialised in developing, financing, constructing, and operating large-scale wind and solar PV projects. In Australia, TERA is developing a pipeline of late-stage NEM-connected projects of 800MW utility-scale solar and 1.3GWh of co-located batteries, and leading the charge to decarbonise the TotalEnergies Exploration & Production activities through the development of bespoke behind-the-meter solutions to slash CO2 emissions.

TERA has an Australian team of 30+ renewable energy experts, encompassing a “whole-of-life” approach to project development targeting 4.5GW of renewable capacity (wind, solar, storage) installed in Australia by 2028.

Recent achievements in Australia include the construction and operations of the 256 MWp Kiamal Solar Farm Stage 1 (“KSF1”), Victoria’s largest solar farm and its 190MVar Kiamal Synchronous Condenser. KSF1 is the world’s first co-located solar farm with synchronous condenser and today hosts Australia’s largest single-unit synchronous condenser, which provides critical system strength services to the North-West Victorian transmission network.