PHOENIX, AZ – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, and members of the 24th Navajo Nation Council joined Walter Haase of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and Mike Hummel of the Salt River Project (SRP) in Phoenix, AZ to finalize a historic agreement. The partnership extends the operation of the existing Kayenta I solar facility through March 2038 and allows for a new 200-megawatt solar facility known as “Cameron Solar” to be constructed by 2023 on the Navajo Nation.
“At the start of the Nez-Lizer Administration, we established a new vision for energy development for the Navajo Nation with the signing of the Hayoołkaał proclamation, which prioritizes renewable energy initiatives and supports the transition from coal to other resources to help build our economy and make our Nation a key stakeholder in renewable energy across the country,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “With the partnership of SRP and NTUA, we are making a statement and taking another big step forward to building our Nation, this is about Nation building, and the future of our Navajo people.”
Construction of the Kayenta I solar facility, located in the community of Kayenta, AZ on the Navajo Nation, began in 2016 and was eventually expanded with the completion of the Kayenta II solar facility in 2019. Combined, the facility currently produces 55-megawatts of emission-free energy to power approximately 36,000 homes on the Navajo Nation.
“Together, we have the power to make changes that reflect the needs of our Navajo people,” said Vice President Myron Lizer. “Right now, our people need jobs, and more revenue to help meet direct services and to build local economies to transform and sustain our communities in the long-term. This partnership will help in this effort and lead to more project development and innovation. We truly appreciate the support and partnership of SRP and NTUA.”
In April 2021, President Nez and Vice President Lizer were joined by Council Delegate Thomas Walker, Jr., as they finalized a lease agreement for the construction of the new 200-megawatt “Cameron Solar” generation plant, which will be located in the community of Cameron, AZ on the Navajo Nation.
“This collaboration with the Navajo Nation on the Kayenta solar generation facility supports the Navajo community’s transition from a coal-based economy and has provided a valuable resource to SRP’s growing renewable energy portfolio,” said Mike Hummel, SRP General Manager and CEO. “In addition, we are extremely honored to work alongside NTUA to continue to work together on future projects including Cameron Solar.”
The Cameron Solar project supports the Nez-Lizer Administration’s focus on renewable energy development and the Navajo Nation’s transition away from coal-dependency. The project will generate over $11 million through the land lease as well as an additional $32 million in transmission operations over the next 25 years. The project is also expected to generate approximately $15 million in tax revenues associated with solar and infrastructure, as well as 300-400 job opportunities for Navajo people during construction.
“The NTUA renewable energy development goal is multifaceted, which includes helping to generate a new Navajo Nation economy, creating new jobs, keeping electric and utility rates stable, and using excess proceeds to connect homes to the electric grid,” said Walter Haase, NTUA General Manager. “NTUA has pledged to work hard to ensure that renewable energy production on the Nation will 100 percent benefit the Navajo Nation and its people. These agreements are an example of that promise.”