If you look at the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy website, there is an entry for a huge 4,000-MW solar power project, which is under investigation for potential development. It says the Navajo Hopi Land Commission (NHLCO), Navajo Nation received over $300,000 for the conducting of a feasibility study for the development of 4,000 MW of solar power in 22,000 acres of Paragon-Bisti lands in northwestern New Mexico.
An Energy.gov document about the proposed project says the annual insolation average is 6.58 hours per day for this area. The main goals of the project would be to develop the renewable energy potential of the lands so the local tribes could have clean energy and reap the financial benefits of being energy independent. Constructing such an enormous solar capacity would also create jobs and many trainings for new workers. The long-term goal would be to generate enough power to sell some to the regional grid systems and develop enterprises based on that commerce.
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Some tribes in America have unemployment rates of 50% or higher. Furthermore, the potential for economic growth is low, so the cycle of poverty continues. “She ticks off a list of what revenue from the plant would mean for her community: a day-care center, programs for senior citizens and veterans, better roads, more efficient wells for drawing water, language-preservation programs and scholarships for youngsters,” a journalist from Richmond Times Dispatch writes. ‘She’, in this quote, is Delores Apache, the president of a local economic development organization.
Sometimes hearing about these very large-scale projects when they are at the very initial phase of exploration is frustrating because there may be so many impediments that they don’t come to fruition. Especially when they appear to be an ideal solution to a number of social problems as well, there can be a great deal of frustration and disappointment when they don’t materialize quickly. However, they also can be seen as the positive direction to take for the future, and one that is somewhat inevitable over the long term.
Image Credit: Department of Energy