Háyoołkááł Work Group announces partnership with Salt River Project to develop up to 200-megawatts in solar energy on the Navajo Nation

(Photo: The Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President)

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Solar project will deliver power to the Salt River Project transmission system

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Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President

On Wednesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, and Háyoołkááł Work Group joined Salt River Project in announcing a partnership to seek proposals for the development of up to 200-megawatts of solar energy on the Navajo Nation.

Salt River Project issued a Request for Proposals on Wednesday for up to 400-megawatts of solar power development – 200 megawatts will be dedicated for a solar project on the Navajo Nation that will deliver power to the Salt River Project transmission system.

“It’s the beginning of a new era for the Navajo Nation — the start of new opportunities. We recognize that coal-based energy provided many benefits for the workers and their families, but times are changing and energy development is changing. As Diné people, we have always been resilient in times of change, and that’s what we are doing by seeking developers for up to 200-megawatts of solar development with Salt River Project. We are looking to become the leader in renewable energy throughout the Southwest and Indian Country,” said President Nez.

The Háyoołkááł Work Group, which was created by President Nez and Vice President Lizer to serve as the clearinghouse for energy development proposals and initiatives for the Navajo Nation in April through the Háyoołkááł Proclamation, has met with Salt River Project on several occasions to assist in developing the Request for Proposals.

The Háyoołkááł Work Group is comprised of officials from the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources, Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Economic Development, Division of Community Development, Navajo Nation Washington Office, and the Office of the President and Vice President.

“Throughout this process, the Háyoołkááł Work Group has had a seat at the table in determining the criteria and requirements that are spelled out in the RFP that was issued. We will continue to work together with Salt River Project to ensure that the proposals are vetted carefully and that the Nation benefits from this project,” said Vice President Lizer.

President Nez and Vice President Lizer said the Háyoołkááł Work Group will continue serving as the primary clearinghouse for energy projects along with the Navajo Nation Energy Office when it is established. The office was funded in the current year’s budget, however, enabling legislation to officially create the office was previously tabled by the Council.

In December, the Nez-Lizer Administration also announced the Navajo Nation’s acquisition of the rights to 500-megawatts along the Navajo Generating Station transmission lines that will allow the Nation to earn revenue from the use or marketing of transmission of electrical power.

“The acquisition of the 500-megawatts places the Navajo Nation in the driver seat to determine its own energy future in accordance with the Háyoołkááł Proclamation, which prioritizes renewable energy development for the long-term benefit of the Navajo people and our communities,” added President Nez.

In the Request for Proposals, Salt River Project requests respondents to provide competitive solar project proposals that are a minimum of 100-megawatts and up to 200-megawatts in size. Proposed projects must be able to achieve commercial operation by no later than December 2023 to ensure that projects are eligible for federal tax incentives.

“This project is critical as it moves us forward in our goal to invest in more solar energy projects and offer our customers a diverse mix of affordable, emission-free power. We are also proud to work with the Navajo Nation as they facilitate further development of renewable energy,” said Salt River Project General Manager and CEO Mike Hummel.

Proposals in response to the RFP must be submitted to Salt River Project by May 4, 2020. Selection of new resources is expected to be completed by July 2020. Additional information about the RFP, including instructions on how to register to submit proposals, is available at srpnet.com/SolarRFP.

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