A new generation source and a broadened mission.
Those were key factors in the Grand River Dam Authority’s decision to rename one of its facilities that has been generating low-cost, reliable electricity for Oklahomans since the early 1980s.
Formerly known as the GRDA Coal Fired Complex (CFC) the site will now be called the Grand River Energy Center, home to both GRDA coal fired generation and, by 2017, a new combined cycle gas unit with the potential to be the most efficient in the entire country. GRDA unveiled the new name, and the facility’s new logo, at its February 12 board meeting.
“We felt the new name would better reflect both the importance of this site and its expanded mission,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer/Director of Investments Dan Sullivan.
Sitting on a 1,245-acre site, located on the southern edge of the MidAmerica Industrial Park, the CFC has been GRDA’s main source of electricity production since both units (GRDA Units 1 & 2) began commercial operations in the early 1980s. Construction of the new gas unit (GRDA Unit 3) will serve to bolster the site’s importance as GRDA’s primary generator, while also adding fuel source diversity that will aid reliability.
Due to new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GRDA is also moving forward with plans to retrofit the emissions controls on GRDA Unit 2, to ready it for reliable production in the years ahead. A final decision on Unit 1 – possibly a decommissioning or conversion to gas – is still pending.
The new Unit 3 will produce 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. Because of this heat recovery process, and the unit’s state of the art design, it will be very efficient.
“Part of the GRDA Board’s strategy has been 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.”
That diversified portfolio already includes coal, gas, water and wind resources. Unit 3’s construction and GRDA’s goal to expand its wind generation are important components in efforts to meet customer needs reliably and economically for many years to come.
Meanwhile, the new name – Grand River Energy Center – is also intended to reflect the mission of reliable electric production as well.
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 touches75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to 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.