Navajo Generating Station
Published January 6, 2019
FARMINGTON, N.M. — Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s (NTEC) board unanimously approved a resolution on December 29, 2018 to continue negotiations with the managing companies of Navajo Generating Station (NGS) and Kayenta Mine to acquire operations.
“We believe there is a clear and beneficial path forward to acquire and operate both NGS and Kayenta Mine as a vertically-integrated entity,” NTEC CEO Clark Moseley stated. NTEC’s plan would have one entity own and operate the power plant and the coal mine.
“This is a business decision about a business transaction for NTEC. We are going to thoroughly evaluate plans and make sound business decisions that are beneficial for NTEC and the Navajo Nation,” said NTEC Board Chair Tim McLaughlin.
In October, Navajo Nation leaders requested that NTEC explore possible solutions to preserve operations of NGS and Kayenta Mine. Since then, NTEC has put in place a technical team comprised of energy experts to work with Moseley and NTEC management.
Moseley said continuing negotiations complies with NTEC’s operating agreement to “improve the economic, financial, tax and revenue interests of the Navajo Nation and Navajo people.”
NTEC will continue negotiations with Salt River Project and Peabody Energy and conduct further feasibility studies and due diligence, Moseley said.
Moseley announced the vertically-integrated structure during a verbal report to the Navajo Nation Council’s Naabik’íyáti’ Committee on Thursday, December 27, 2018.
“The best way to move forward is to have a vertically integrated energy company. Such a company could operate through 2029,” Moseley said to the Committee. “Early findings show this project could be very beneficial for the Navajo Nation and its communities.”
Moseley cautioned committee members that no agreements or contracts have been signed.
NTEC was represented by Moseley, NTEC’s Governmental and External Affairs Director Steve Grey and Board Member Aaron Rosetta.
The Committee, comprised of the 24 elected Council Delegates, asked questions centered around details of NTEC’s plan to continue operations at NGS and Kayenta Mine, such as the number of employees at the operations, how much purchasing the operations would cost, and other questions concerning liabilities and reclamation.
Moseley assured the Committee the decision about moving forward to implement plans to continue operations is not being taken lightly and said NTEC has an excellent understanding of both the coal and power industry.
“NTEC is not going lightly into this venture. I assure you that,” he said. “We do have the expertise in coal mining, and a prudent track record of managing a contract miner, and we are partial owners of Four Corners Power Plant.”
Moseley added NTEC has gained insights into power marketing since becoming a partial owner of Four Corners Power Plant, a coal-fired power plant, located about 20 miles southeast of Shiprock.
“NTEC has been actively selling power. It now has considerable expertise in the Southwest power market,” he said. “NTEC also has a considerable amount of credibility in the energy industry and with financial institutions that work with energy corporations.”
Moseley added preliminary findings show there are entities that are interested in purchasing power from NGS. They are looking forward to working with a tribal entity which brings unique opportunities, he said.
The committee voted unanimously to accept NTEC’s report, 15-0.
Moseley also emphasized that the Council’s and NTEC’s ongoing Section 17 federal charter legislation is a separate issue from the NGS and Kayenta Mine acquisition.
“Repeated attempts by media and environmental groups to link the future of the Navajo Generating Station with consideration of Section 17 legislation are entirely unrelated. The work on Section 17 status has been underway for years, pre-dating the Council’s recent request that NTEC assess the feasibility of acquiring NGS. Contrary to some recent reports, the delay in consideration of Section 17 will have no impact on any possible acquisition of NGS,” Moseley said.