Navajo Power, a majority Native-owned Public Benefit Corporation that develops utility-scale clean energy projects on Tribal lands, announced recently that it has secured a $3 million program-related investment (PRI) from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF). This investment is stated to contribute to the $9.5 million currently raised for an Impact Loan Facility that will be used to further Navajo Power’s mission to develop more than $3 billion of clean energy infrastructure in Tribal communities by 2030.
“Tribal nations are on the frontlines of the clean energy transition, having suffered disproportionately by detrimental health, environmental and economic impacts,” said Brett Isaac, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Navajo Power. “This latest fundraising round will help us ensure that Native communities not only recover, but are the prioritized beneficiaries and stewards of the clean energy revolution.”
Navajo Power affirms to enable Tribal communities to maximize the economic benefits of clean energy. Navajo Power obtains all agreements, permits, entitlements, and approvals necessary to build, finance, and operate such projects for 20+ years. Navajo Power’s main focus is stated towards project development in prioritizing the needs of the Tribal communities where it is working, including taking into account traditional practices and uses of the land when siting and designing projects. Navajo Power works proactively to create opportunities for Tribal members to participate in the financing, development and operation of the projects and thereby benefit directly from the jobs, revenue and electricity the projects create.
“The clean energy economy is a rapidly growing and very important opportunity for Tribes, but it is complex and shaded by past experience with fossil fuels,” said Clara Pratte, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Navajo Power. “That is why Navajo Power devotes so much time, resources and technical expertise to Tribal governments, so we can help guide the creation of policies and regulations that maximize the opportunity for clean energy development while also preserving tribal sovereignty and the rights of local stakeholders.”
“For the past three years, Navajo Power worked to build an economic model that centered on the community,” Natasha Hale, program officer for New Mexico programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation said. “This innovative model and approach by Navajo Power is creating a new energy development value chain that boosts economic benefits and leverages cultural assets at the community level, develops large-scale renewable energy projects with Navajo and other New Mexico communities, and partners with investors to address the market gap for energy development finance.”
WKKF joins a circle of leading impact investors and philanthropic organizations in the loan facility. The Group has said to be served as the anchor investor and helped design and set terms for the innovative Loan Facility.
This investment builds on the Kellogg Foundation’s resolve to shift the paradigm in the capital markets to channel resources to entrepreneurs and communities of color.
“Navajo Power’s approach is attractive because local Native community interests and benefits are centered in the core business model, with strong reinvestment into the development of future projects,” said Susie Lee, program related investments officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “It was important for us to take on equity risk but structure this as flexible debt in order for Navajo Power to retain Native ownership of the company for the long-term.”