4,000-MW New Mexico Solar Project Researched

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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.

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

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Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeRsol

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5 thoughts on “4,000-MW New Mexico Solar Project Researched

  • It’s about 3 worker-years of employment for each MW of solar farm or 12,000 total worker-years for this one.

    • You’ve sure got a funny calculator….

    • As I understood, nukes are “expensive” (becuse they need too much labor to build), while green technologies “create jobs” (which have nothing to do with cost). Obviosly the vicious circle is part and parcel of green recycling, renewable and sustainable, refusing to die.

      • Look up how costs are attributed to nuclear construction. It might help your understanding of why nuclear is dying. A very large factor is how long it takes nuclear to initiate a cash flow which puts it at a very significant disadvantage to wind and solar. Years of interest compound and pretty much double the actual cost of construction.

        This is a good place to start. It’s a bit dated since it was written prior to the Fukushima meltdown which have caused costs to rise further. But start here, Google your way forward.

        *This is from an interview with John Rowe, CEO of Exelon. Calvert Cliffs-3 is a proposed new reactor build that isn’t going to happen.

        Exelon’s 17-unit nuclear fleet is the nation’s largest. Rowe has previously said that new nuclear power units are not economically competitive in the US, and in 2009 Exelon abandoned plans to pursue an NRC license to build a nuclear plant at a greenfield site in Victoria County, Texas.

        The Calvert Cliffs-3 project is “utterly uneconomic,” Rowe said after a speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

        Exelon “operates in a merchant environment. We can’t make a long-term decision that’s uneconomic because we have no regulatory protection for that,” he said.

        “At today’s [natural] gas prices, a new nuclear power plant is out of the money by a factor of two,” Rowe said, echoing one of the main points of his speech. “It’s not 20%, it’s not something where you can go sharpen the pencil and play. It’s economically wrong. Gas trumps it,” he said.

        Given recent discoveries of enormous shale gas resources, Rowe said, natural gas prices are expected to remain below $6-$8/MMBtu for the foreseeable future.

        Rowe said Exelon “will probably make a deal with the political leadership in Maryland,” where Constellation is based, to add “some additional renewables and conceivably even some more gas-fired” capacity to the generation mix of a combined company.

        “But it is, I think almost inconceivable that Calvert [Cliffs]-3 could be a part of that,” he said.”
        http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/6659340 ** *

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