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Navajo plant closure underscores risk in lack of local economic diversity
Likely closure of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station is laying bare the dangers of relying too heavily on a one-note economy. “There's no comparison” to such jobs, one worker said.
Momentum toward industrial-scale solar on Navajo lands
Momentum is growing around modernizing tribal renewable-energy policies on the Navajo Nation of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, according to a new report. The shift is being driven in part by the large-scale deployment of solar generation throughout the Southwest, where Navajo lands remain something of an island in a growing regional sea of utility-scale solar installations.
Private equity company ends bid to buy Navajo generating station
Private equity company Middle River Power LLC is ending its bid to buy Navajo Generating Station, the biggest coal-fired power station west of the Mississippi River.
Arizona judge: Let voters participate in state energy policy decisions
An Arizona judge has sided with utility-industry reformers in ruling that a clean energy initiative will appear on the ballot when voters go to the polls in November. Executives at Arizona Public Service, the biggest electricity provider in the state, say they will appeal the decision. At issue is whether to allow development of solar resources at the likely expense of traditional power generation.
Growing awareness in southwest U.S. of rising risk to coal-heavy economies
With the U.S. coal industry “in frank decline,” the well-being of communities in the four corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is at risk as three coal-fired plants in the region becoming increasingly uncompetitive. Activists, educators and elected officials have responded by pressing for more initiatives meant to diversify the region’s economy, including a pilot scholarship project at Navajo Technical University. “This is a unique program that specifically helps communities affected by the decline in the coal industry,” said the university’s president. “It’s making many opportunities available for Navajo students, but there’s still tremendous need out there.”
Commentary: Navajo Generating Station remains economically unviable
Keeping the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona would come at a high cost. “Market conditions suggest an economic disaster any way you cut it, and one that that would cause pain for workers, miners, and other members of the Navajo Nation,” writes the author. “There are sensible ways to invest in a region in need of federal attention on many levels. This is not one of them.”
Survey: Arizona voters prefer a strong ‘outdoor recreation’ economy
In Arizona, where two renewable energy ballot initiatives are being voted on this fall, most voters prioritize development of a more robust outdoor-recreation economy over deeper reliance on extractive energy industries. “Over three-quarters think outdoor recreation will be important to the future of their state’s economy. Similarly, 77 percent believe the presence of public lands and the local outdoor recreation lifestyle are important to attracting good jobs and innovative companies to the state.”
Unless Long-Shot Buyers Step in, Dismantling of Navajo Generating Station Will Begin in May
The owner with the largest stake in the struggling Navajo Generating Station in northeast Arizona says it will start shutting the plant down unless new buyers are found within the next few weeks. “That warning puts intense pressure on Navajo Generating Station’s supporters, including Peabody Energy, to find a new buyer and rush through a sale. Once shutdown begins, any new owner would have to pay millions of dollars to start it up again, making a sale far less likely and profitable.”
Commentary: Failed Experiments in Illinois, Indiana, and Mississippi Serve as a Warning on ‘Clean Coal’ in Arizona
The failure of expensive coal-gasification experiments in Illinois, Indiana, and Mississippi serve as a warning to state and tribal leaders in Arizona, home of the faltering Navajo Generating Station, the biggest coal-fired plant west of the Mississippi and the subject of discussions around the possibility of turning it into a “clean coal” project. “These lessons are pertinent now in the Navajo Country of northwest Arizona, where back-room discussions are occurring over how to keep NGS going as a ‘clean coal’ project, an option that would be doomed from the outset and that would ignore more sensible post-coal economic development opportunities on tribal lands,” writes the author.
Arizona Lawmakers Decline to Grant Tax Bailout for Failing Navajo Generating Station
Arizona lawmakers have failed to pass a proposed tax-relief bailout for the Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal-fired power plant west of the Mississippi. Owners of the failing operation, which employees about 750 people between the plant and its feeder mine, plan to close it next year because it cannot compete with natural gas and renewables. Activity at the plant is winding down already, and chances for finding a new owner are diminished by failure on the tax relief. One legislator who opposed the tax break said the millions in question would be better used as an economic-development appropriation to the Navajo Nation.
Op-Ed: ‘Time for Navajos to Move on From Coal’
With closure looming for the Navajo Generating Station and its companion Kayenta Mine in northeastern Arizona, the Navajo Nation is faced with a “stark reality” that requires strong leadership around an economic-transition mindset. “Renewable energy is an essential part of the solution for our Navajo economy and jobs after coal,” says the writer.
IEEFA Update: The Saudi Arabia of Solar? American Indian Country
Energy Transition Openings Now in the Four-Corners Region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
A Moment of Transition-Investment Opportunity in the American Southwest
Navajo communities, strategically situated new important electricity-transmission lines in the American Sunbelt, have significant advantages in solar-electrification development: “These communities are increasingly being sought out by outside interests seeking development deals crafted to meet growing demand from utility companies that are switching from fossil-fuel powered electricity to renewables. Opportunities exist now to develop these opportunities to the benefit of Navajo people.”
Little Progress in Campaign to Save Largest Coal Plant in the West
"Our economic assessment remains the same today," says a spokesman for one of several owners of the Navajo Generating Station. "Operating the plant beyond 2019 would not be beneficial for their customers."
No Takers for Power Plant in Arizona
Peabody Energy, which is seeking to find a buyer to save the Arizona power plant it is supplying from closure, has not found any takers. The Navajo Nation leases the site of the Navajo Generating Station to a group of utilities that are losing money on the plant, which employees almost 1,000 people, including those who work for the mine that feeds it.