Vinita – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the Grand River Dam Authority’s request for a temporary variance of the Grand Lake seasonal rule curve.
FERC – the federal agency which grants GRDA licenses to operate its hydroelectric projects – gave GRDA the final order Wednesday morning (August 15).
“We are very pleased with FERC’s decision today,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “As we noted in our request for this variance, drought conditions have had a tremendous impact on our lakes and there are many issues that must be considered.”
The FERC decision means GRDA will not conduct the annual mid-August three-foot drawdown of Grand Lake. In a normal weather year, based on FERC license requirements, GRDA would lower Grand Lake from 744 feet to 741 feet to expose mudflat areas and complete a millet seeding project.
However, at its June meeting, the Pensacola Technical Committee (comprised of GRDA representatives and other resource agencies with an interest in Grand Lake) agreed to suspend the 2012 millet seeding project. GRDA noted that decision in its July 24 request to FERC, and also outlined other license requirements, electric reliability, and water supply issues that could be negatively affected by a drawdown during the drought.
In the decision, Chief Steve Hocking with of the FERC Division of Hydropower Administration and Compliance concluded that “granting a temporary variance from the Article 401 rule curve, to be effective upon issuance of this order, is the best course of action to protect resources in the project area and also to protect regional energy reliability.”
“The FERC order means we will continue our best efforts to balance all the interests that depend on Grand and Hudson lakes,” said Sullivan. “That includes our ongoing dissolved oxygen testing, reliable operations of the Salina Pumped Storage Project and maintaining sufficient water levels for the many water districts that depend on these lakes as their supply.”
For more information on this issue visit grda.com.
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years
# # #