Sustainable Development for the Navajo Nation

Chorus Foundation
Completed March 2014

In collaboration with the Black Mesa Water Project, a Navajo environmental justice organization, Synapse analyzed alternatives to the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta coal mine that supplies it with fuel. Using the IMPLAN and NREL JEDI economic impact models, the project team assessed the economic impacts of closing one NGS unit, cutting back the Kayenta mine by one-third, and replacing these resources with renewable alternatives. The team also analyzed the hidden costs of operating NGS, such as environmental controls and health impacts. Results showed that building and operating 900 MW of renewable energy (a mix of wind and solar projects) could replace the jobs and incomes offered by existing energy projects with more secure, longer-term employment and development while reducing the harm to health in communities surrounding NGS and Kayenta.