Navajo Nation Gains Approval from Los Angeles to Study Selling Renewable Energy to City

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell presenting to the Los Angeles City Council in Los Angeles, Calif. on Feb. 19, 2020. Courtesy photo

LOS ANGELES — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez on Wednesday asked the Los Angeles City Council to support a feasibility study to explore a partnership between the Navajo Nation and the city to pursue renewable energy projects. The partnership would allow Navajo Nation to provide cost-effective clean energy to the city of Los Angeles.  

Nez was joined by Los Angeles City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, a tribal citizen of the Wyandotte Nation, who supports the feasibility study.

Nez provided an overview of the Navajo Nation’s efforts to provide renewable energy development. In April 2019, the Nez administration issued the Navajo Háyoołkááł Proclamation to prioritize renewable energy development for the Navajo Nation. The proclamation also created the Háyoołkááł Work Group to serve as the clearinghouse for energy development initiatives. 

“This is a win-win for everyone. The demand for clean energy throughout the country is there and mandated by our people, our citizens, and it’s no different on the Navajo Nation. We have a young population on our Nation, and they are demanding us to be better stewards of our land, and renewable energy is the way forward,” said President Nez. 

The Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power was one of several owners of the Navajo Generating Station, which closed in December along with Kayenta Mine, and led to a $30 to $50 million decline in annual revenue for the Navajo Nation. President Nez said the Navajo Nation is looking to continue its partnership with the City of Los Angeles to move forward on a new path that prioritizes renewable energy development.

Los Angeles appears to be a great choice for the Navajo Nation to pursue as a renewable energy customer. In 2018, California’s state legislators approved a measure that requires 100-percent of the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources. In April 2019, the City of Los Angeles adopted its own carbon-free energy plan that also calls for 100-percent renewables by 2045.   

“As the City of Los Angeles takes a leadership role in renewable energy, we can lift other partners along with us across the state of California, across the entire United States as we power down coal and power up renewable sources of energy. This potential partnership with the Navajo Nation to encourage and pioneer renewable energy to replace coal is something the Los Angeles City Council can be proud of especially if there are mutual benefits for both parties,” O’Farrell said.  

After Nez’s presentation, the Los Angeles City Council approved the motion to conduct the feasibility study. The Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power is scheduled to provide a report in 30 days.

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