Building a New Economy post Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine
The closures at the end of 2019 created major challenges for the Navajo and Hopi Economies. Yet, there are major entrepreneurial and job opportunities for years out due to the decommissioning of the plant and mine, reclamation, re utilization of assets such as power lines and substations, and utilities with replacement power needs. The communities of the area have the ability and resources to secure benefits from these opportunities and diversify into large markets such as tourism and expanded retail shopping.
The articles below offer innovative reviews and strategy for economic transition and diversification. Tribe Awaken founder Tony Skrelunas serves as a key member of the National Just Transition Strategy Task Force and helped craft the national platform for Economic Transition. This platforms included tribal NGO leaders from across the Nation. Its important for community and tribal government leaders to understand the merits and opportunities from this platform which will guide National transition policy during the coming years. The Tribe Awaken team developed an extensive review to help tribes understand the platform and how it can be beneficial.
The second report covers various investment opportunities in decommissioning and reclamation. This will be helpful to understand what the opportunities are when a coal mine and power plant closes.
A gathering of Hopi and Navajo community, business, and organizational leaders was held in the summer of 2019 to give inspiration and develop big thinking around transition. Here is the main report of that gathering:
The imminent closure created a set of immediate power generating opportunities. Closure created all kinds of national attention including among the foundation community. There was a chance that many, with good intent, would just throw money at the problem and have little actual results. This article provided a path for responsible investing in the right types of local opportunities.
Many tribal communities are excited to pursue utility scale solar as a transition alternative. We felt it important to help communities understand the opportunity and how to drive and develop it, what types of community benefits they should ask for, and how they could play a more engaged role in solar development.
A Window of Opportunity: Navajo Solar Strategies for Communities to Drive Large Renewable Energy Projects
To build on this, we educated communities on this report. Several communities have since moved forward with resolutions to select solar developers, withdraw tracts of land, and initiated efforts to develop in a way that communities and traditional land users gain much more wealth from projects. These developments are critical as the closure did create space in transmission lines running to large markets, there has been movement by SRP and LADWP to secure local Navajo preference in power purchase to help with transition, and to take advantage of still available federal tax credits that start decreasing in 2021. We offer ideas and strategy for continuation of the important Federal Tax Credit: