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Navajo Community Demanding Solar Power

Wednesday, June 19th 2013 5:31 PM
By GetSolar Staff.
Navajo Community Demanding Solar Power

Members of the Navajo nation in Arizona are taking a stand and demanding the generators that provide their reservation with power switch from coal to solar.

A group of Navajo families gathered along the Central Arizona Project canal in Scottsdale and used a large mobile solar-powered generator to run pumps that transferred water from the canal to buckets and barrels, reported the Summit County Citizens Voice.

"Many Navajo families had to pen their sheep alone today on the reservation to be here in Scottsdale and show SRP (Salt River Project) that solar works," said Marshall Johnson, Navajo Nation resident and To Nizhoni Ani co-founder. "We were able to get a little bit of water from CAP pumped into our barrels today before the police moved us, and we are going to take this back to our sheep on the reservation."

The Navajo Generating Station (NGS) is the coal-fired power plant near Page, Ariz., that is intended to provide the Navajo reservation with energy. It not only leaves thousands of residents without electricity and running water, but is one of the most polluting coal-fired power plants in the country. Many of the residents have to transport water to the reservation for cooking, cleaning and drinking.

Working for Clean Energy
The peaceful protest was attended not only by members of the Navajo nation, but Americans across the country who have been impacted by dirty energy. The collective is called the Climate Justice Alliance, and last week they launched the Our Power Campaign in Black Mesa, Ariz.; Richmond, Calif.; and Detroit, Mich., according to Summit Voice. 

The demonstration was meant to send a message to the owners of the NGS (SRP and the United States Department of Interior) that the reservation residents want to move away from coal-powered energy and move toward clean, renewable energy like solar. 

"The Navajo Nation could generate thousands of megawatts of solar energy, providing thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars for the regional economy," said Jihan Gearon, BMWC Executive Director. "Our groups here today support the need for a Just Transition of NGS to renewable energy."

Using the solar-powered water pumps to siphon water out of the canal in Scottsdale was a demonstration of solar power as a viable solution to replace the coal-powered plants. 

The grassroots movement of the Climate Justice Alliance is expanding across the country and pushing for a nation-wide shift to clean energy.

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