The first wind farm to be majority-owned by an American Indian tribe is currently in the negotiation phase. Backers of the proposed Boquillas Wind Project say it would be located in one of the best wind resources in Arizona, on the Aubrey Cliffs in Coconino County.
Under the plan being worked on, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Edison Mission Energy would build and operate the 85-megawatt capacity wind-power plant. The project would potentially produce enough energy to power 19,000 residential homes in the Phoenix area. SRP, the local utility company, has agreed to purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated from the project.
The wind turbines would be constructed on the Boquillas Ranch, which is owned by Navajo Nation. The 25-year contract would include annual lease payments to the tribe as well as annual tax payments to the state of Arizona. The project would also employ 300 to 350 people to construct the wind farm, with 10 permanent jobs once construction is complete.
The project is pending completion of the power purchase agreement and permit and construction approvals from federal, state and local agencies. According to the proposed contract, the delivery of energy to SRP could begin by the end of 2012.
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