June 8, 2018 Read More →

New power contracts cloud future of Navajo plant

Arizona Republic:

The board of directors overseeing the Central Arizona Project canal on Thursday approved two deals for power to partially replace what they expect to lose next year when the embattled Navajo coal plant near Page closes.

Coal miners from the Kayenta Mine protested at the state Capitol on Wednesday and attended the board meeting of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, asking the board to put the vote on hold for three months. The board did not listen. The vote was unanimous except for one member, Mark Lewis, who abstained because of a conflict of interest.

One of the power deals approved Thursday will result in the construction of a 30-megawatt solar plant somewhere along the canal, which will sell power to CAP for just 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, one of the cheapest contracts of its kind. The other agreement is a five-year deal for power from SRP from a variety of sources.

Combined, the contracts only cover about 14 percent of CAP’s power needs, and officials said if Middle River or another entity can successfully take over the coal plant, they’ll consider taking its power—if it’s offered at a reasonable price.

Joe Greco, senior vice president of Middle River Power, addressed the board Thursday. He did not disclose a possible price for the plant or provide other specifics. He said his company could operate the plant efficiently and economically for customers. Greco characterized his company’s intentions as serious and said it was looking at options “to keep the NGS operating well into the future.”

Board members denied Greco’s request to delay approval of agreements to buy power from several firms for some of the energy necessary to move Arizona’s water, saying it needed to move ahead and noting the aqueduct has relied on multiple power sources in the past.

More: Despite protests from Navajo miners, Central Arizona Project approves power deal

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