Proper maintenance, high reliability go hand in hand at GRDA

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

There is a lot going on right now at the Grand River Dam Authority’s Coal Fired Complex near Chouteau. Located on the southern edge of the MidAmerica Industrial Park, the facility is responsible for GRDA’s base-load generation and produces the bulk of its electricity for direct and indirect customers spread all across Oklahoma and even in to Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

GRDA’s Keith Ross works on induction fan during a recent scheduled maintenance outage at the GRDA Coal Fired Complex. The fan is used to blow air into the boiler to aid in the coal combustion process, an important step in electric generation. Proper maintenance on all the equipment, and the work of experienced employees, has helped GRDA achieve high levels of reliability at the facility since the mid 1980s.

With so many Oklahomans depending on GRDA power, the facility has to operate at the highest levels possible.  So, to insure this always takes place, GRDA performs two scheduled maintenance outages each year. During these times, one of the two units at the site is taken out of service and given a complete inspection and tune-up.

The current outage, being conducted on GRDA Unit 2, is considered a major outage because of the scope of work and the length of downtime that has been scheduled to perform that work. As part of the current outage, the unit’s turbine generator – the very heart of the electric generation process – has even been disassembled and shipped off-site for maintenance that could not be conducted at the facility. New tubing is also being installed in the boilers, while new components – designed to help lower emissions — are also being installed. Hundreds of other preventive maintenance tasks are underway as well.

In summary, it’s just a very busy fall around the GRDA Coal Fired Complex and it’s busy for one key reason: reliability. In fact, reliability has always defined this GRDA facility since the two units went online in the early 1980s. One good measuring stick for reliability is “unit availability” which measures the number of hours a generating unit is available to produce power compared to the number of hours in the period.  While the electric industry standard is 85 to 90 percent, GRDA typically exceeds that standard at its Chouteau facility with both generating units typically achieving just better than 90 percent. That type of success happens because of good maintenance programs and the efforts of experience employees … and it’s good for Oklahoma.

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.

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