Jul 242015

By Nolan Madden

The Navajo County Board of Supervisors granted approval last week for the installation of three meteorological (met) measurement towers on property owned by Aztec Land and Cattle Company, located 17 miles southwest of Joseph City.

The met towers will gather the wind speed, wind direction and other meteorological data in the Holbrook area for a possible wind energy project, which would be called the Hashknife Wind Energy Project.

The installation, led through Aztec’s partnership with Chicago-based clean-energy developer Invenergy, marks a step toward what could potentially be Navajo County’s second utility-scale wind farm, the first being the Dry Lake Wind Power Project located between Holbrook and Heber.

The current phase of the Dry Lake Wind Power Project is estimated to eliminate 126,000 tons of carbon dioxide, and save 51,534,000 gallons of water annually. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each 1,000 megawatts of wind power capacity installed in Arizona will save 818 million gallons of water per year and eliminate two million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Navajo County Planning and Zoning Department planning technician Peggy Saunders said that the approved permits were obtained for a five-year period in order to evaluate the immediate trends and wind characteristics across the Holbrook region throughout the four seasons.

“The project is in its preliminary phase. The long-term goal is for Aztec to determine the feasibility of wind energy development in this part of Navajo County,” she explained.