Navajo Nation signs agreement to develop wind-power projects

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. and Citizens Energy Chairman and President Joseph P. Kennedy smile for the camera after signing an agreement that will promote the development of wind energy projects on Navajo lands (Photo by Deswood Tome/NNWO).

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. and Citizens Energy Chairman and President Joseph P. Kennedy smile for the camera after signing an agreement that will promote the development of wind energy projects on Navajo lands (Photo by Deswood Tome/NNWO).

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Navajo Nation took a giant leap forward toward developing renewable wind energy this month by signing an agreement with Citizens Enterprises Corporation, the energy development subsidiary of nationally-renowned Citizens Energy Corporation and the Navajo Nation's wholesale energy enterprise, the Diné Power Authority (DPA), to move work forward on the development of utility-scale wind energy projects on Navajo lands.

The agreement, signed by Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., Citizens Energy Chairman and President Joseph P. Kennedy II, DPA and other key Navajo entities solidifies an on-going partnership that anticipates the development of more than 500 MW of wind energy in several locations throughout the Navajo Nation.

"By working together with the Navajo Nation's Diné Power Authority and Citizens to harness the power of the wind we can bring economic prosperity for the Navajo people and build our energy independence while providing jobs and other benefits for the Navajo Nation," said President Shirley.

The agreement validates the progress of nearly two years of pre-development work that has been carried out by DPA and Citizens' wind development division, which has developed wind and renewable energy projects throughout North America.  According to DPA's General Manager, Steven C. Begay, "wind, solar, and other renewables are essential to a balanced energy future for the Navajo Nation, the US, and the global community.  Citizen's demonstrated commitment to bringing benefits to Native communities was essential in the decision to proceed with this developer."

"We are proud to join together with the Navajo Nation on this important endeavor," said Kennedy.  "This project has the potential to develop more than 500 megawatts of wind energy, which will provide sustained economic and environmental benefits for the Navajo people."

Under the terms of the joint venture, the Navajo Nation will have a significant ownership stake in the project development company and have the opportunity to invest additional equity in the project, eventually acquiring a majority ownership stake. Citizens has also agreed to reinvest a portion of the profits from the project on the Navajo Nation.

Early estimates anticipate the Diné Wind Project could produce between $60 to $100 million in revenue for the Navajo Nation over the lifetime of the projects, not including the jobs, improved quality of life and environmental benefits.

Citizens Energy Corporation and its subsidiaries have developed renewable energy, electricity transmission and trading, and energy efficiency projects throughout the world for nearly 30 years.  Citizens has worked closely with First Nations in the United States and Canada.

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