Utility board panel backs replacement lease for power plant

Published on May 19, 2017 at 10:39AM

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation might be allowed to remain in operation beyond this year. A Salt River Project board committee is recommending the full board approve a proposed replacement lease and SRP spokesman Scott Harelson says the next step is up to tribal officials. Harelson says lease terms are confidential until tribal legislation is proposed, but officials have said they were talking about keeping he plant in operation through 2019. Utilities owning shares of the plant have said they want to get cheaper power from natural gas-fired plants. The current lease ends in late 2019 but operations would need to cease this year to leave time for removing the plant. It’s a source of revenue and jobs for the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe.