A study prepared by Arizona State University on behalf of the Salt River Project and the Navajo Nation says the loss of the Navajo generating station in northern Arizona would cost the state approximately $18 billion.
The 2,250 MW Salt River Project-operated coal-fired station employs approximately 540 people, more than 80 percent of whom are Native American. The plant’s lease and various rights of way with the Navajo Nation are set to expire around 2019 and the NGS owners are currently negotiating extensions. In addition, regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could cause the plant to retire. EPA is considering whether to require $1.1 billion of additional emission-control technology at NGS for the purpose of improving visibility in nearby national parks by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). Recent improvements at NGS have already reduced NOx emissions by more than 40 percent.
The study, “Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine: An Economic Impact Study, the closure of NGS” by the L William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, also studies the potential impact of the closure of the nearby Kayenta Mine, the plant’s coal supplier.
The study concluded that NGS will provide more than $20 billion in economic contributions throughout the state for the period measured from 2011 to 2044.
The study in its entirety can be found here.