Navajo Generating Station and Federal Resource Planning. Volume 2: Update

David Hurlbut, Megan Day, Alex Badgett, Misty Conrad

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Several sector-wide economic factors have continued to affect the economics of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), the largest coal plant in the western United States. Like coal plants nationwide, NGS continues to face economic competition from combined-cycle natural gas (CCNG) generators. Had power generated by NGS been replaced with additional production from the area's lower-cost CCNG units, generation costs might have been $98 million lower from 2015 through 2018. Renewable energy trends appear to be independent of the economic competition between NGS and CCNG plants in the region. Integrating wind and solar resources would likely remain the same with or without NGS. If the Navajo and Hopi tribes aim to encourage renewable energy development on their reservations, they can reasonably anticipate a surge in renewable energy development until 2019 and a lull in new activity shortly after that. Demand for new renewables might be more price-sensitive, federal subsidies could be diminished, and competition among developers might be more rigorous. Access to major transmission could be a competitive advantage for the tribes, in the event that NGS retires.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages59
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-72859


  • coal
  • energy economics
  • energy transition
  • reliability
  • tribal energy


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