Navajo Nation

Native Renewables: Powering Up Tribal Communities

Read time: 5 mins
Native Renewables with large solar panel

By Tara Lohan, The Revelator. Originally posted on The Revelator.

There’s something amiss in the Southwest. The region has the best solar potential in the country, yet thousands still live in homes without electricity. The problem is especially acute in native communities like the Navajo Nation, which was passed over in earlier efforts to bring electricity to rural communities.

As Cleanup Dispute Looms, Peabody-Linked Group Pushes Navajo Nation to Buy West's Largest Coal Plant

Read time: 12 mins
Navajo Generating Station coal power plant in Arizona

In September 2018, two prospective buyers announced they were dropping out of negotiations to purchase the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), the American West’s largest coal-fired power plant.

Avenue Capital Group and Middle River Power had sought to keep the aging coal plant in business, but “said they could not get anyone to commit to buying power from the plant, delaying the start of an environmental review,” the Associated Press reported. The plant, located in northern Arizona near the Utah border, is currently scheduled to shut down in December, after its current owners concluded in 2017 that its power was too costly to be competitive.

The two firms had progressed further in talks with the coal power plant’s owners than any of the 15 others identified as potential buyers by a consulting firm hired by Peabody Energy, which for decades has mined the coal burned at the plant.

A think tank that’s been backed by Peabody Energy is pushing the sale of the ailing plant and coal mine — and is now finding an audience in the Navajo Nation with the help of a Heartland Institute policy advisor.

Fracking Boom Expands Near Chaco Canyon, Threatens Navajo Ancestral Lands and People

Read time: 7 mins

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom. 

Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.

The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors.  It is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.


Flares burning at fracking industry site on federal land near Counselor, New Mexico ©2015 Julie Dermansky

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