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Title: An Assessment of the Potential for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development on the Navajo Nation.

Abstract

The Navajo Nation covers about 27,000 square miles in the Southwestern United States with approximately 270 sunny days a year. Therefore, the Navajo Nation has the potential to develop utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy for the Navajo people and export electricity to major cities to generate revenues. In April 2019, the Navajo Nation issued a proclamation to increase residential and utility-scale renewable energy development on the Navajo Nation. In response, this research assesses the potential for utility-scale solar energy development on the Navajo Nation using criteria such as access to roads, transmission lines, slope/terrain data, aspect/direction, and culturally sensitive sites. These datasets are applied as layers using ArcGIS to identify regions that have good potential for utility-scale solar PV installations. Land availability on the Navajo Nation has been an issue for developing utility-scale solar PV, so this study proposes potential locations for solar PV and how much energy these potential sites could generate. Furthermore, two coal-fired power plants, the Navajo Generating Station and the San Juan Generating Station, will close soon and impact the Navajo Nation's energy supply and economy. This study seeks to answer two main questions: whether utility- scale solar energy could be used to replace the energymore » generated by both coal-fired powerplants, and what percentage of the Navajo Nation's energy demands can be met by utility-scale solar energy development? Economic development is a major concern; therefore, this study also examines what utility-scale solar development will mean for the Navajo Nation economy. The results of this study show that the Navajo Nation has a potential PV capacity of 45,729 MW to 91,459 MW. Even with the lowest calculated capacity, utility-scale solar PV has the potential to generate more than 11 times the power of the NGS and SJGS combined. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy for making this research project possible through the Indian Energy internship program. I am thankful for my mentors Julius Yellowhair, Gepetta Billy, Stanley Atcitty, and Dylan Moriarty for all their help and guidance throughout this internship. In addition, I would like to thank the GIS masters, Casaus "Sonny" Benito, John Sand lin, and Mike Barthel for all their help with the GIS portion of this project. I thank the Sandia American Indian Outreach Committee (especially Jeannie Bekaye) for making me feel welcome at Sandia National Laboratories. I also thank the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) for all the information they provided and the useful discussions. Lastly, I am very thankful for all the other Indian Energy interns and MSIPP interns: Brett, Callie, Isnala, Roy, Sarah, Wesley, and Vero. You all made this summer an amazing experience.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Under Secretary (US)
OSTI Identifier:
1599701
Report Number(s):
SAND2020-1320
683716
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Sneezer, Sherralyn. An Assessment of the Potential for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development on the Navajo Nation.. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.2172/1599701.
Sneezer, Sherralyn. An Assessment of the Potential for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development on the Navajo Nation.. United States. doi:10.2172/1599701.
Sneezer, Sherralyn. Wed . "An Assessment of the Potential for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development on the Navajo Nation.". United States. doi:10.2172/1599701. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1599701.
@article{osti_1599701,
title = {An Assessment of the Potential for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development on the Navajo Nation.},
author = {Sneezer, Sherralyn},
abstractNote = {The Navajo Nation covers about 27,000 square miles in the Southwestern United States with approximately 270 sunny days a year. Therefore, the Navajo Nation has the potential to develop utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy for the Navajo people and export electricity to major cities to generate revenues. In April 2019, the Navajo Nation issued a proclamation to increase residential and utility-scale renewable energy development on the Navajo Nation. In response, this research assesses the potential for utility-scale solar energy development on the Navajo Nation using criteria such as access to roads, transmission lines, slope/terrain data, aspect/direction, and culturally sensitive sites. These datasets are applied as layers using ArcGIS to identify regions that have good potential for utility-scale solar PV installations. Land availability on the Navajo Nation has been an issue for developing utility-scale solar PV, so this study proposes potential locations for solar PV and how much energy these potential sites could generate. Furthermore, two coal-fired power plants, the Navajo Generating Station and the San Juan Generating Station, will close soon and impact the Navajo Nation's energy supply and economy. This study seeks to answer two main questions: whether utility- scale solar energy could be used to replace the energy generated by both coal-fired powerplants, and what percentage of the Navajo Nation's energy demands can be met by utility-scale solar energy development? Economic development is a major concern; therefore, this study also examines what utility-scale solar development will mean for the Navajo Nation economy. The results of this study show that the Navajo Nation has a potential PV capacity of 45,729 MW to 91,459 MW. Even with the lowest calculated capacity, utility-scale solar PV has the potential to generate more than 11 times the power of the NGS and SJGS combined. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy for making this research project possible through the Indian Energy internship program. I am thankful for my mentors Julius Yellowhair, Gepetta Billy, Stanley Atcitty, and Dylan Moriarty for all their help and guidance throughout this internship. In addition, I would like to thank the GIS masters, Casaus "Sonny" Benito, John Sand lin, and Mike Barthel for all their help with the GIS portion of this project. I thank the Sandia American Indian Outreach Committee (especially Jeannie Bekaye) for making me feel welcome at Sandia National Laboratories. I also thank the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) for all the information they provided and the useful discussions. Lastly, I am very thankful for all the other Indian Energy interns and MSIPP interns: Brett, Callie, Isnala, Roy, Sarah, Wesley, and Vero. You all made this summer an amazing experience.},
doi = {10.2172/1599701},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {1}
}