Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority
The January meeting of the Grand River Dam Authority Board of Directors resulted in a key milestone for GRDA.
During the meeting, the board approved the purchase of the components that will eventually be at the heart of Unit 3; the new combined cycle natural gas fired electric plant to be built adjacent to the existing GRDA Coal Fired Complex (Chouteau).
At a combined price of $77,840,000, GRDA is purchasing both a combustion turbine-generator and a steam turbine-generator, which will work in concert to efficiently produce electricity for Oklahomans in the years ahead. The combined cycle Unit 3 can actually produce electricity in two ways. First, natural gas is used to fire and spin the combustion turbine-generator and, second, heat from that process will be recaptured and used to produce steam that will spin the steam turbine-generator, also producing power. This heat recovery process is what helps to make the unit so efficient.
When all is said and done, the new unit will be able to produce 495 megawatts (MW) of low-cost, reliable electricity for GRDA customers across Oklahoma and the region. However, before that day even arrives, work on the project is expected to bring as many as 500 construction jobs to the site, during the 2015-2016 period. That will help boost the economy, just like the existence of low-cost electricity, already does.
The new Unit 3 will produce electricity by using natural gas — from right here in Oklahoma — and that will bring even greater balance to a GRDA asset portfolio that already includes natural gas, coal, wind and hydro resources. At the site (adjacent to the Coal Fired Complex), natural gas infrastructure is already in place, land and water are ample and the high-voltage transmission connection is already available as well.
GRDA’s timeline for the new generation facility includes a commercial operation deadline in early 2017. After that, Unit 3 is anticipated to be one of the most efficient combined cycle generators in the country, while meeting the latest standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Most importantly, it will allow GRDA to continue to meet its electricity, economic development and environmental missions in 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-plus years.
— Justin Alberty
GRDA Corporate Communications Director
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