Arizona Public Service Company announced last month it’ll go carbon neutral in by 2050 and end all coal generation in the next 11 years. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the company is preparing now for possible economic impacts to the Navajo Nation.
APS will close the Four Corners Plant near Farmington, N.M., seven years ahead of schedule. The Navajo Transitional Energy Company owns 7% of it along with the mine that supplies the plant, and says the facilities employ more than 700 mostly tribal members.
Lily Quezada is an APS spokesperson and says the utility will offer help to areas affected by the closures.
"Although we don’t have a specific right now, we do want to make sure that we have input from these communities to make sure that we are being as helpful and as transparent, and we provide as much of that assistance that we can," she says.
According to APS, it currently pays $100 million a year in taxes, fees and royalties to state and federal governments and the Navajo Nation for the power generated at Four Corners. It’s unclear what portion of that goes to the tribe, but NTEC officials say the facilities provide critical revenue.
The Navajo Nation endured tens of millions of dollars in coal losses following last year’s closure of the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine.