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A Local Leader’s Fight to Ensure A Just Transition for the Navajo Nation
Nicole Horseherder, Executive Director of Tó Nizhóní Ání, shares her story of helping Navajo communities build a more equitable economy in the wake of recent coal closures.
Native Renewables’ Wahleah Johns Appears On A Matter of Degrees Podcast
Joined by leading scholars and advocates, Johns discusses the Navajo Nation’s historical relationship to coal and their current efforts to achieve a just transition.
Arizona utility offers $169 million transition deal with Navajo
As three coal plants and mines wind down, a plan for what comes next.
Navajo and Hopi Communities Seek A Just Transition After Kayenta Coal Mine Closure
The former mine land has not been reclaimed, adding to the environmental and economic challenges the communities face as they transition away from coal.
Opinion: A Fair and Responsible Transition to Clean Energy
“The question is whether we watch passively from the sidelines or try to direct this once-in-a-lifetime transition in ways that are efficient for energy producers, affordable for energy consumers, fair for workers, and sustainable in our use of earth’s resources.”
Op-ed: Utilities Must Commit to Invest in Communities in Move from Coal
"The rapidly changing energy landscape makes it critical for the burdens of fossil fuel workers and communities to be assessed in all utility planning, so that we aren’t left behind, once again."
Op-ed: Counting the many ways power companies can repay their obligations
“Utilities that have exploited our resources for half a century owe us economic support to transition,” writes the author, a Navajo activist and a champion of reinvestment. “Fortunately, opportunities exist.”
Op-ed: As Navajo Nation goes, so goes Arizona
Collaboration between tribal and state leaders, federal officials, and investors will be crucial for the reinvention of an economy that depended on coal and must retool now for the future.
A deal to bring utility-scale reinvestment to northeastern Arizona
Navajo Power and sPower, privately held enterprises, are partnering with Arizona utility company SRP to develop solar farms in communities hurt economically by last year’s closure of Navajo Generating Station.
Transition proposals in Arizona can be applied nationally, too
A nascent push to mandate utility-company reinvestment in long-time coalfield economies across tribal and non-tribal areas alike suggests a template others can follow. Regulatory or legislative action could be key.
Utility companies can reinvest in rural Arizona
Following an “elegant, simple, and fair” proposal by tribal leaders, utilities in the Grand Canyon State would reinvest seriously in coalfield communities otherwise left behind as mines and plants close.
The case for utility-company reinvestment in Arizona’s coalfield communities
“Reinvestment—through utility-scale renewable power projects, infrastructure development, worker retraining, education, and other meaningful initiatives—is easily in the best interest of Arizona as a whole,” concludes a new study.
Arizona proposal sees utility companies reinvesting in coalfield communities
As coal-fired power plants close across the Four Corners region of Arizona and New Mexico, the president of Navajo Nation is championing a regulatory initiative requiring utilities to reinvest locally.
Arizona utility, citing economics and markets, pulls a 180
After spending $38 million against a ballot initiative on development of a renewable-energy industry, Arizona Public Service has abruptly changed course and will get rid of coal- and gas-fired generation.
Plant closures in Arizona, Ohio, and Montana seen as harbingers of more to come
“By all indications, the pain will continue, with the EIA projecting that coal companies will cut production by an additional 100 million tons this year, to about 600 million tons.”
Commentary: A post-coal future for Hopi and Navajo
With proper resources and visionary leadership, tribal communities in northern Arizona can reinvent their economies.
Post-coal education initiative offers Navajo workers a transition
A small program through Coconino Community College in Page, Ariz., suggests a model that can expand the skills of a workforce that for years has supported the soon-to-be defunct Navajo Generating Station.
Questions about Peabody’s commitment to Arizona after 150 Native American miners are let go
As Kayenta Mine prepares for shutdown, concerns locally are that Peabody Energy will jettison more long-timer workers in favor of contract reclamation employees.
Report: As coal industry collapses, Hopi-Navajo budget crisis suggests a national response
“The federal government can and should play a major role in transition and could even use the Hopi-Navajo situation as a springboard to develop a national coalfield reinvestment initiative,” write the authors.
In northeastern Arizona, a Native push for solar development
A Navajo company is pressing the uptake of off-grid solar and the development of larger community-based solar installations as one way to “bring light, jobs and new opportunities” to the area.
Report: A targeted federal solar tax-credit extension would help coalfield communities regain their footing
Keeping the 30% tax credit in place through 2024 for locales hardest hit by the decline of coal would contribute to replacing lost tax revenues while creating much-needed new jobs.
Navajo government signals move beyond coal and into renewables
In a policy shift, the Navajo Nation government said it would invest heavily in a regional renewable-energy boom. "The opportunity is here, ladies and gentlemen,” President Joseph Nez said. “Let us embrace it.”
$20 million call for ‘fast-emerging opportunity in Navajo-Hopi Transition Impact Investment Fund’
A new report identifies immediate investment opportunities in the emerging post-coal economy of northeastern Arizona.
End of an era as bid fails to keep Navajo Generating Station open
Cleanup liabilities and economic questions surrounding the biggest coal-fired plant west of the Mississippi have killed a bid to save the plant and its companion mine, which employ over 700 people.
Risk persist in proposed Navajo coal plant acquisition
Nagging issues persist around the proposed acquisition of a failing power plant in Arizona, including on cleanup liabilities, worker benefits and deferred-maintenance costs.
Imminent closure of Navajo plant stirs uncertainty
The transition question looms large in northern Arizona: “How to ensure positive environmental change doesn’t come at a crippling economic cost for some of America’s most marginalized communities.”
Commentary: ‘Environmental victories don’t guarantee economic justice’
A call for energy companies “to repair the damage they’ve done, to make amends for historical land and resource theft, and to patch up the economic hole their departure leaves.”
In ‘value over volume’ pivot, Peabody sees production downturn at largest U.S. mine and closure of Kayenta in Arizona
Peabody Energy expects a 10-ton production reduction at the North Antelope Rochelle mine this year, down from 98 million tons, and the company says it will close Kayenta mine in Arizona.
Report: Opportunity in Navajo ‘post-coal reclamation’ economy
Land reclamation and site remediation around the coal-fired Navajo Generation Station and Kayenta Mine will require years to complete and likely employ hundreds of former plant and mine workers.
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.