In recent news, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) made a huge commitment to the solar industry by signing a twenty-year Power Purchase Agreement with solar company AZ Solar 1. This will be documented as the lowest price for solar in the United States. Connecting Arizona’s most precious resource, water, with its most abundant resource, the sun, is an important step toward a clean energy future for Arizona.
Diversifying CAP’s energy portfolio is imperative for a more sustainable energy and water system in our state. This opens up a huge market for the jobs of tomorrow, and could help foster partnerships between industries. These partnerships will be crucial in the transition towards a more diverse energy portfolio statewide.
The Navajo Generating Station (NGS) is a huge source of our power in Arizona. It also provides a reliable job source for its community and creates a resource export for them. Some may see CAP’s transition to solar as catastrophic for the Navajo Generating Station. However, the amount of energy that CAP will receive from solar is less then 15 percent, and they will still require the rest from the coal-powered Navajo Generating Station for the time being. The NGS has been facing the possibility of closing for a while, so the need to transition to other energy sources is pressing. The NGS may be purchased by another power generating company, but deals are still in the works.
CAP’s agreement shined light on the urgency for a solution in this community. The Navajo Nation depends heavily on this power generating system, so how and when we prepare this community for the jobs of tomorrow is vital. Giving the workers the tools to flourish in the new market will ensure their successful participation and prosperity in the emerging clean energy industry.
In terms of sustainability, transitioning our energy sources is critical, as well as transitioning our economy. This situation can spark a shift in the energy job market here in Arizona. The NGS workers are highly skilled and understand the importance of providing reliable energy – this could be seen as an opportunity to train and place these community members into the renewable energy industry. As we diversify our energy portfolio, we need to make sure that no one is being left behind. In efforts to promote clean energy, some job losses and market transitions are inevitable. It is important to take action on transitioning the displaced workers, as replacing jobs will ensure a healthy and clean economy.
CAP’s new agreement shows the potential for creating new jobs rooted in ethical, sustainable, and clean energy sources. The solar market across the country will keep expanding, and so will the jobs. To learn more about the general health and wealth of the solar market check out this blog.