Report: Retrofitting NGS Would Boost Navajo Economy

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 4:12pm
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 3:40pm
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Laurel Morales/KJZZ
One of the Navajo Generating Station's three 750-megawatt generators.

As Peabody Energy lays off more Navajo workers, the tribe decides what to do with the old coal mine and power plant set to close in coming months.

Navajo leaders are still considering whether to retrofit the Navajo Generating Station and build a solar farm. Repurposing the plant would boost the tribe's economy, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

"You see it happening back east," said Karl Cates, a spokesman for the Ohio-based research group. "You see it happening in a huge complex in Massachusetts, where offshore wind industry is beginning to boom. There's an appeal because they're affordable sites. And they often come with infrastructure that can build local economies."

Salt River Project, the utility that operates the Navajo Generating Station, signed an agreement with the tribe that gives it access to 500 megawatts of transmission capacity. And the utility just agreed to take more "aggressive measures to reduce carbon emissions."

Peabody Energy has laid off more than 150 workers at the Kayenta Mine since March.

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