The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to explore entering into an agreement with the Navajo Nation to place solar- and renewable-energy production on tribal lands.
The power would be paid for and sent to the city of Los Angeles.
City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who proposed the arrangement, said that to “encourage and pioneer renewable energy, to have replaced coal, is something the Los Angeles City Council can be very, very proud of, especially if there are mutual benefits across all parties.”
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the city had been a co-owner of the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Page, Arizona, which closed in November along with its coal mine. Because of the closure, Nez said the nation has lost a revenue stream between $30 million and $50 million annually.
“But we are resilient people … we have gone through some hardships on our people, leaving a strong legacy for not just Native Americans but for all people,” Nez said. “We want to be the leaders in renewable energy in Indian Country, and we are already moving forward on that path by creating a solar project on the Navajo Nation that creates 55 megawatts of electricity.”
O’Farrell’s motion instructs the Department of Water and Power to report back in 30 days to see if some kind of agreement would be feasible.
The Navajo Nation comprises about 27,000 square miles of land primarily in northeastern Arizona with portions scattered throughout western New Mexico and southern Utah.
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