(Navajo Times, October 23) – Navajo Transitional Energy Company will get $75 million in order to keep Four Corners Power Plant running, and Navajo leadership is aware of the deal.
PNM and NTEC have been in negotiations for six months for NTEC to acquire PNM’s share of the Four Corners, and the terms include NTEC getting $75 million to keep the plant open for as long as possible, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
PNM Resources is committed to end its use of coal and will stay on the trajectory of abandoning San Juan Generating Station in 2022, and wants to sell its 13 percent stake in the Four Corners Plant. NTEC currently owns 7 percent of Four Corners.
Navajo leadership is aware of this deal. In an email from NTEC CEO Clark Moseley sent to President Jonathan Nez and Speaker Seth Damon, which was also sent to NTEC board members, Moseley gives an update of NTEC’s attempt to “seek, find, and finalize” an agreement to assume PNM’s power plant ownership on Jan. 1, 2025.
“NTEC will agree to acquire PNM’s 13 percent interest,” stated Moseley. “I want to very firmly stress that the framework of the deal we have previously described to the board and to our member reps remain in place. The only change is to the timing of the final acquisition of the interest by a suitable third party.”
After a couple of searches for a suitable third party fell through it was recommended that NTEC not permanently acquire PNM’s interest due to limitation of voting rights. Later it was decided NTEC and PNM should proceed with transaction in order to meet PNM’s deadline.
“PNM has also committed to assure continued normal plant operations between now and 2025 and has agreed that it will not vote on an early shutdown of the plant,” stated Moseley. “We continue to strongly recommend this transaction as being in the best interest of the company and, very specifically, our shareholder, the Navajo Nation.”
It was only a year ago NTEC purchased Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which included three coal mines located in Wyoming and Montana. This purchase brought scrutiny from Navajo leadership, followed by months of discussion and presentations to Council. After much indecision on the part of council, President Jonathan Nez ultimately decided to terminate NTEC’s general indemnity agreement.