Navajo Nation President Proclaims Renewable Energy Its Top Priority

Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer and President Jonathan Nez hold up the Navajo Sunrise Proclamation in Window Rock, the tribe’s capital, on April 2, 2019. (Photo courtesy Navajo Nation)

WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed a proclamation Tuesday that embraces a shift to clean energy development. This comes just days after the tribal council voted to drop its bid for the west’s largest coal-fired power plant.

The proclamation says the tribe will provide off-grid solar to the 15,000 or so Navajo households still without electricity. It will build more utility-scale solar energy projects. Its second solar farm goes online in two months. The tribe also plans to build a solar panel assembly plant to create more jobs.

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Nez said it’s time for our land to heal from coal.

“The opportunity is now,” Nez said. “The opportunity is here, ladies and gentlemen. Let us embrace it. Let the Navajo Nation continue to embrace change by being the leader in renewable energy projects in Indian Country.”

Nez said the tribe is positioning itself to continue to provide energy for the West, as states like New Mexico and California sign legislation to go carbon free by 2045.

This story was first published as a part of the Fronteras Desk, a unique KJZZ project that covers a wide expanse of an under-covered news desert that stretches from northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.