Tulsa — One of the most important contract signings in Grand River Dam Authority history has moved the utility one step closer to a new era in electricity production for customers across Oklahoma.
On Friday afternoon, GRDA Chief Executive Officer/Director of Investments Dan Sullivan signed a contract with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas for the purchase of a combined cycle natural gas generation unit. That unit (GRDA Unit 3), will not only have the capability to produce 495 megawatts (MW) of electricity but it also has the potential to be the most efficient of its kind in the United States. Unit 3 will be located at the Grand River Energy Center (formerly GRDA Coal Fired Complex), east of Chouteau, Oklahoma.
Sullivan signed the agreement, along with Mr. Yoshihiro Shiraiwa, President of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPSA), during a special ceremony at the GRDA Engineering and Technology Center in Tulsa.
“This is an historic agreement for both GRDA and Mitsubishi,” said Sullivan. “This unit will be the first of its kind in the western hemisphere. It is state-of-the-art technology, and as a combined cycle unit, it will operate very efficiently while providing low-cost, reliable electricity for GRDA customers for decades to come.”
A combined cycle unit produces electricity in two ways: Natural gas is first used to fuel a combustion turbine-generator and then heat from that process will be recaptured and used to produce steam to turn another steam turbine-generator.
This process allows the unit to achieve the high efficiency, while also allowing for lower fuel consumption and lower emissions. GRDA anticipates the new Unit 3 to be operational by March 2017.
“Part of the GRDA Board’s strategy is to reduce our reliance on coal,” said Sullivan.
“We can achieve some of that with this new facility. By burning natural gas from right here in Oklahoma, we will have a diversified generation portfolio that will continue to keep costs low for our customers.”
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA’s low-cost, reliable power touches 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.
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