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In recognition of National Hydropower Day

In recognition of National Hydropower Day

The Grand River Dam Authority is proud to join with the National Hydropower Association in recognizing August 24 as “National Hydropower Day” across the country. Of course, GRDA has been in the business of producing renewable, hydroelectric power for over 80 years now.

It all began in 1940 when Pensacola Dam – Oklahoma’s first hydroelectric facility – first harnessed the waters of the Grand River to produce electricity. Since then, GRDA has also added Robert S. Kerr Dam (1964) and the Salina Pumped Storage Project (1968) to its hydroelectric portfolio. Working together with other GRDA generation assets, these facilities help to keep rates low and reliability high.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), hydroelectric facilities, like GRDA’s, “fit the concept of renewable energy” because these facilities use “running water, without reducing its quantity, to produce electricity.”  At GRDA, that water is used repeatedly as it flows down the Grand River, through Pensacola Dam and Kerr Dam, and also as it is pumped up and stored at the SPSP.

There are other benefits to producing electricity with the power of falling water. Here are just a few:

  • Hydroelectricity increases the stability and reliability of electricity systems because hydroelectric generators can be started very quickly. In fact, “energy generated by hydroelectric installations can be injected into the electricity system faster than that of any other energy source” says the USGS.  
  • Hydroelectricity contributes to the storage of drinking water. Did you know GRDA lakes serve as storage for 50 Oklahoma municipal water systems and rural water ? Grand, Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir (SPSP) all serve as water storage reservoirs to help meet the needs of thousands of Oklahomans. Without the presence of hydroelectric plants, that storage might not be available. 
  • Hydroelectric power helps develop the entire region. Prior to Pensacola Dam, the surrounding region was rugged and rural. Today, that region is the heart of a large and thriving tourism and recreation industry that revolves around GRDA lakes.  

These are just a few of the reasons why the GRDA’s hydroelectric story is really a “power for progress” story for Oklahoma. At GRDA, we are proud of our hydro history and the role our employees continue to play to keep the power flowing to our Oklahoma neighbors.

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