FARMINGTON, N.M. — For the first time ever, the Navajo Nation is a part-owner of a power plant.
The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC), owned by the Navajo Nation, made a deal July 2 to buy seven percent interest in Units 4 and 5 of the Four Corners Power Plant (FCPP).
Arizona Public Service owns 100 percent of Units 1, 2, and 3. Units 4 and 5, operated by APS, are owned by six companies now. APS , Public Service Company of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and now NTEC.
“As a result of the transaction, NTEC, a business entity wholly owned by the Navajo Nation, becomes an owner of a coal-fired power plant, a first for a Navajo Nation enterprise,” Communications and Media Affairs Director for the tribe, Erny Zah, said in a press release announcing the purchase.
The purchase was made through 4C Acquisition, an affiliate of Arizona Public Service Company. Not only does the tribe now own part of the FCPP, the purchase came with a deal between tribe and APS to give the tribe more flexibility in the sale of coal from the NTEC Navajo Mine about 30 miles southwest of Farmington, N.M.
Adding even more silver lining to it all, the Navajo Nation was able to pay off a 2013 loan to purchase the Navajo Mine from BHP Billiton for $85 million.
This is a big deal for the Navajo Nation that will now have a say in how the power plant operates and a piece of the profits.
“This is a milestone for NTEC. One of our primary goals has been to manage the assets of NTEC responsibly to allow for growth and prosperity as a Navajo Nation-owned enterprise. (W)e look forward to maximizing the benefits,” CEO for NTEC, Clark Mosely said.
Other Navajo Nation officials also lauded the move forward for the tribe.
“NTEC has been working long and hard on securing and finalizing this deal. In this time and era, Navajos are seeking a seat at the energy table and NTEC is providing the means to make that happen,” tribal Governmental and External Affairs Director Steve Grey said.