PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Public Service is proposing a plan to offer $144 million to aid three coal country and Native American communities where the company will eventually close its remaining coal-run power plants.
The plan would increase investments in the Navajo Nation, Hopi tribe and Joseph City area while retaining workers, providing electricity to regions in Navajo that are off the power grid and developing renewable energy projects.
The plan would be a sizable investment in communities that have suffered economically as the country shifts its reliance on fossil fuels to more renewable energy, the Arizona Republic reported.
Arizona Public Service is the majority owner of the Four Corners Power Plant on Navajo land in northwest New Mexico that is scheduled to close by 2031. The plant employs 327 people today, with 80% of them Native American.
About 350 people work at the coal mine next to the plant, which is owned by a company the Navajo Nation created to buy the mine.
The Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City is scheduled to close by 2025 with one of the three remaining units closing this year. Jeff Guldner, CEO of Arizona Public Service and its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp, said the Arizona Public Service are trying to prevent layoffs with that closure. Cholla employs roughly 200 people and is not on tribal land.