Former IEEFA Transition Policy Analyst Karl Cates has been an editor for Bloomberg LP, an editor for the New York Times, and a consultant to the Treasury Department-sanctioned community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.
These communities are part of the overall economy of greater Arizona, and their perilous state—combined with the broader economic trauma now engulfing the U.S.—presents an immediate opening for local reinvestment by Arizona utility companies that have relied on power plants, like Navajo Generating Station and Four Corners Generating Station, to name just two, for the electricity that has powered the phenomenal growth of Arizona for 50 years.
Power-generation communities like Page, Springerville, Kayenta and others that hosted the plants and their companion mines are facing crushing economic effects from closures.
The Navajo Nation, which encompasses a good part of the coalfield economy of greater Arizona, has put forth a formula in a rate-case hearing before the Arizona Corporation Commission by which Tucson Electric Power (TEP) can invest responsibly now in the void left by the closure last year of the Navajo Generating Station and its coal source, the Kayenta Mine.
The Navajo formula is elegant, simple, and fair, calling for $100,000 of initial local utility-company reinvestment for every megawatt of power capacity owned currently and in prior years (the Hopi tribal government, similarly affected, has endorsed the Navajo proposal). This brief applies the Navajo approach to all of TEP’s coal-fired power holdings and to those of the two largest utility companies in Arizona, Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS), and to the Arizona Electric Power Co-op.