Loan helps renewable energy expansion on Navajo Nation

USDA Rural Development Utah State Director Randy Parker last week announced that USDA is providing a $94 million loan to support energy generation on the Navajo Nation.

“Access to reliable and affordable energy is critical to long-term growth in any rural community,” Parker said. “Leveraging the abundant solar energy in the Four Corners area provides a strong foundation for economic development in the Navajo Nation.”

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is receiving a $94 million loan to support the development of Kayenta II, a renewable energy project that ultimately supports the expansion of electrical power to residential and commercial customers in the Navajo Nation. A 55.1-megawatt alternating current solar facility will provide renewable energy as a marketable resource, which promotes economic growth to serve 26,000 Native Americans in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

Nationwide, USDA is investing $858 million in loans to upgrade rural electric systems in 17 states through the Electric Loan Program. The funding includes $64 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security. This funding will help build or improve 3,741 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ut.