US energy secretary meets with Navajo Nation in New Mexico

August 20, 2021 GMT

NENAHNEZAD, N.M. (AP) — U.S Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm met with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and other tribal leaders Thursday at a power plant in northwest New Mexico Thursday to discuss renewable energy initiatives, including a solar project and energy storage system.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, D-N.M., and U.S. Office of Indian Energy Director Wahleah Johns joined the meeting at the Four Corners Power Plant in Nenahnezad near Farmington about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of the Colorado line.

Granholm said in a statement it “was great” to meet President Nez and the Navajo Nation’s cabinet “to discuss opportunities to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.”

The region is preparing for the closure in the coming years of two major coal-fired power plants and the mines that feed them.

Nez said Thursday’s discussion focused on ongoing development of the Bisti Solar Project in Huerfano, which could produce as much as 100 megawatts of solar energy, and a 100-megawatt battery energy storage system.

“Renewable energy is the future of the Navajo Nation,” Nez said in a statement. “We are pleased to share that vision with Secretary Granholm, the Biden-Harris Administration and the state of New Mexico.”