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Wahleah Johns: Navajo Nation should turn to clean energy

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: energy, navajo, wahleah jones
   

Wahleah Johns explains why the Navajo Nation should embrace wind and solar technology:
Part of the debate about how to approach pollution cleanup at the big Navajo Generating Station coal-fired power plant near the Grand Canyon has always revolved around jobs and revenues for the Navajo Nation. Federal regulators heard more on this in recent public hearings.

Some in the Navajo Nation government very much want to see a coal future and therefore slow or delay any change for the coal plant as long as possible. Others, including Navajo community groups like Black Mesa Water Coalition and many Navajo Nation residents, see the energy landscape today quite differently.

We see that in the past two years the two largest U.S. coal companies, Peabody and Arch, have lost more than 75 percent of their value, while over the same period the price of solar panels has dropped some 60 percent.

We see utilities around the country buying wind power at prices lower than coal or natural gas, like Xcel Energy’s recently approved purchase of nearly 700 megawatts of wind energy, which will save customers in New Mexico and Texas nearly $600 million over 20 years.

We also see coal mines for sale in Wyoming getting no buyers and the owner of a mine on the eastern Navajo Nation eager to sell because of coal’s decreasing competitiveness. And we see proposals for coal export terminals in the U.S. being shelved as projected demand for imported coal in pollution-choked China flattens.

Get the Story:
Wahleah Johns: Wind and Solar Power Best for Navajo Nation (Indian Country Today 12/15)


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