Middle River Power will not buy NGS

LECHEE – The power plant consultant seeking to take over the Navajo Generating Station decided to no longer pursue it. Middle River Power and its subsidiary, Avenue Capital Group, announced today (Sept. 20) that they have ended efforts to acquire the coal-fired power plant, which its five owners voted last February to close it at the end of next year, citing competition from natural gas. The collapse of the deal threatens the survival of the plant unless a buyer is found. And when the plant closes, so will the Kayenta Mine on Black Mesa. “Recent developments in California and in Arizona will create additional challenges for baseload power plants,” said Todd Fogarty, spokesman for both Middle River Power and Avenue Capital, “and it has not been possible to secure from counterparties commitments to purchase a sufficient amount of power generated from NGS to enable a workable paradigm.” Fogarty said both companies have concluded that the steps required to facilitate ownership and operation of the plant are no longer possible within the required timeframe. “Therefore, we are terminating our efforts,” Fogarty added. The plant’s coal supplier, Peabody Energy, launched a risky bid to find a buyer. Americas Kemal Williamson urged the federal government Thursday evening “to help lead efforts to ensure ongoing operation of the plant and (the) mine for the benefit of the (Hopi and Navajo tribes) and the people of Arizona.” “Peabody and others continue to aggressively work toward that goal,” Williamson added.

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