Navajo-Owned Wind Farm in Works in Arizona

Navajo-Owned Wind Farm in Works in Arizona

ICTMN Staff
8/17/11

A Navajo Nation enterprise, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, will prospectively own the majority of a planned wind farm project on the Aubrey Cliffs in Coconino County, Arizona.

Federal, state and local agencies are currently negotiating the purchase agreement, permit and construction.

If the deal goes through, the Navajo Nation will be the first American Indian tribe in the United States to hold majority ownership of a green-energy generation project, according to a Salt River Project, the Arizona utilities provider, (SRP) press release. NTUA would hold 51 percent ownership, while Edison Mission of Irvine, California, would have a 49 percent share, reported the Navajo Times.

The tribe would lease the proposed Boquillas Wind Project for 25 years, allowing the SRP to purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated from the project. The 25-year contract would include annual lease payments to the tribe as well as annual tax payments to the state of Arizona.  The project would also employ 300 to 350 people to construct the wind farm, with 10 permanent jobs once construction is completed.

The plan states the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and Edison Mission Energy would build and operate the 85-megawatt capacity wind-power plant, which is expected to produce enough energy to power 19,000 residential homes in the Phoenix area.

"This project was conceived with the goal to develop and introduce an energy economy for the Navajo Nation that will directly benefit the Navajo people," said Walter Haase, NTUA's general manager, in a statement. "We are thankful that SRP understands our mission and supports the Big Boquillas wind farm project, it's the beginning a new economy for the Navajo Nation."

The wind turbines would be constructed on the Boquillas Ranch, owned by Navajo Nation.

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