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Navajo developer proposes solar site

Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC is proposing 200-MW of a 400-MW solar project be situated on reclaimed land at the site of its Navajo Mine in New Mexico. The proposal for the project is a response to a request for proposals issued by Salt River Project in January.

The company, or NTEC, plans to partner with developer Photosol US on the project's development. The solicitation called for 400 MW of solar power generation with the stipulation that 200 MW be sited on the Navajo Nation's land. The request does not dictate where the other half of the 400 MW should be located.

"Including solar and other renewable energy sources in NTEC's portfolio has always been part of our vision for NTEC and the Nation," NTEC Chairman Timothy McLaughlin said in a June 17 news release.

"It is very exciting to play a role in developing two of the key components to a viable solar powered future — the minerals and metals necessary for the infrastructure and the solar array that will generate the power on Navajo land," McLaughlin added.

The facility will likely offset some of the losses that SRP incurred from the closure of the 2,250-MW Navajo Generating Station at the end of 2019. The power generated by the facility would be delivered to customers in central Arizona.

Proposals were due by May 4. The Salt River Project has said it expects to select the new resources by July.

Tempe, Ariz.-based Salt River Project, which has set a goal of reducing its carbon dioxide emission by more than 60% by 2035 and by 90% by 2050, plans to acquire 1,000 MW of new solar energy by 2025. The public utility issued a request for information for up to 500 MW of wind projects in June.

SRP invested in Sonoran Energy Center Solar, a 250-MW solar-plus-storage project in Maricopa County, Ariz., and in the Storey Energy Center Solar Project, an 88-MW solar project in Pinal County, Ariz., in 2019. Both facilities are owned by NextEra Energy Inc.