Navajo Generating Station Supplying Power and Water to Arizona
by Janie Thom
The Navajo Generating Station, located on the Navajo Reservation near Page, Arizona, is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the western United States. Owned by several utilities, including Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Co., the largest share at 24 percent, is owned by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation for the beneficial use of Central Arizona Project (CAP).
CAP pumps Colorado River Water 336 miles, from Lake Havasu to south of Tucson, raising it 2,800 feet in the process. 95 percent of CAP’s electricity to accomplish this monumental task comes from the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) with the balance supplied by Hoover Power. Excess electricity is sold to help defray Arizona’s $57 million annual repayment obligation to the United States for the CAP canal’s construction.
Because the Generating Station is located near several National Parks, controlling plant emissions is a priority for CAP and the plant’s owners. In the 1990’s, the partners spent $400 million to install sulphur dioxide scrubbers. We are currently spending $47 million to install Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) control equipment. A similar situation exists at the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, New Mexico. Both plants fall under EPA jurisdiction due to their location on the Navajo reservation.
Now, the EPA is considering requirement of special Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment for NOx control. Studies show there will be no noticeable improvement in visibility, while cost for SCR technology could reach $I billion, 15 to 20 times more than the equipment now being installed.
The higher energy costs will affect CAP’s customers, 80% of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties’ population, either through higher power and/or water bills. This could become an economic disaster if the partners determine the plant is too expensive to operate and decide to close it down. The Hopi Tribe would lose 88 percent of their annual budget, which is derived from coal mining on their reservation. The Navajo Nation would suffer a similar loss in tribal members’ employment, while CAP would have to find other sources of power, with transmission to our pumping plants a tenuous situation at best. This is a terrible price to pay for negligible air quality improvement.
You can help by writing to your congressmen and asking them to stop the EPA from imposing more costly regulations. Please see the CAP website for information on the Navajo Generating Station and how you can TAKE ACTION.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 480-510-2259.