U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Could Force Power Purchases from Navajo Generating Station

By Editors of Power Engineering

Those working to prevent the 2,250-MW Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona from shutting down now include the head of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Timothy Petty, a Trump appointee, has informed the Central Arizona Project they are bound by law to purchase power from the plant, Arizona Central reported.

However, CAP officials have said purchasing power from natural gas plants are cheaper. But Petty said he isn’t swayed by that argument due to the Colorado River Basin Project Act of 1968, which requires the canal to purchase from the plant.

“With the 1968 Act in mind, the Department (of Interior) expects to consider several options going forward, including the feasibility of continued use of NGS-provided power,” Petty wrote.

The Hopi Tribe and a coal miner’s union are also using that law as the basis of a lawsuit against the plant.

CAP officials are moving ahead with a vote on two power purchase contracts for the canal from other sources after Navajo Generating Station is set to close in 2019. However, CAP officials are also meeting with potential buyers for the plant, including Avenue Capital’s power plant subsidiary Middle River Power.

Salt River Project said two months ago that time is running out for a deal that would allow a buyer to purchase the plant without at least a temporary shutdown.