4,000-acre solar project proposed near Page

The LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation started discussions on Monday about the proposed Red Antelope solar energy and storage project on the Navajo Nation between Page and Kaibeto.  

The 4,000-acre project is proposed on tribal land between Arizona Route 98 and the Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and project developer 8minute Solar Energy propose construction of a solar plant.

According to the company website, 8minute is a California-based alternative energy company with 18,000 megawatts (MW) under construction and 2,000 MW in operation.

Native A+E, an organization that promotes growth and innovation though stories of planning, design and building native communities, says that 8minute has experience on tribal lands, including communities affected by the closure of coal-fired power plants, including the Moapa Band of Paiutes in Nevada and the Quechan Tribe in California.

The energy company's name is based on the time it takes light from the sun to reach the Earth.

Northern Arizona has been greatly affected by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and the COVID-19 pandemic. NTUA says the project will create training and education programs to support the construction and operation of the plant.

According to NTUA and 8minute, the proposed project would create between 300 and 600 construction jobs for 18-24 months, with up to 20 permanent operations and maintenance jobs for its planned 35-year life.

The Red Antelope project features a 400 MW photovoltaic solar array (without mirrors) and a 1,200 megawatt-hour battery storage system, according to 8minute.

The project will produce nearly 1.7 million megawatt-hours of solar energy each year and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the Navajo Nation and the local economies.

According to NTUA, the proposed site in the LeChee area is ideal for harvesting, storing and delivering solar energy. More information can be found at https://www.8minute.com/, https://www.native-ae.com/ and https://www.ntuasolar.com/.

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