Published May 2, 2017
WINDOW ROCK – Officials from the Navajo Nation and the Salt River Project (SRP) report that negotiations for a replacement lease that would allow the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) to continue operating through the end of 2019, have been productive and that considerable progress has been made.
The owners of NGS voted in February to extend operations of the power plant to the December 2019 end of its lease rather than close the plant later this year. That commitment requires agreements with the Navajo Nation to allow the NGS owners to conduct removal and restoration activities, as necessary, after 2019.
A task force from the Navajo Nation has been meeting on a regular basis with representatives of SRP, which is seeking terms for a replacement lease on behalf of the owners.
A Replacement Lease would preserve, for more than two years, continued employment at the plant as well as revenues for the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe. It also provides the Nation or others with the potential to acquire and operate the plant beyond 2019 should they so choose although the current non-governmental group does not intend to be participants at that time.
While there are a number of details that require additional discussions, both the Navajo Nation and the NGS owners are optimistic that a successful conclusion can be reached soon. If a draft agreement can be reached soon, it will provide time for required approval from the Navajo Nation Council and the NGS owners.
The NGS owners require a final decision by July 1. The agreements will also define the retirement and restoration of the leased lands in the event that another ownership group is not identified in time.
The participants in NGS include SRP, the plant’s operator, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power Co., and NV Energy.