National Hydropower Day 2022
Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority
National Hydropower Day 2022
The Grand River Dam Authority is proud to join with the National Hydropower Association (NHA) in recognizing Wednesday, August 24, as National Hydropower Day. The day is set aside as a time to share more information about the many benefits of hydroelectricity, which is the nation’s second largest renewable energy source. In Oklahoma, GRDA has been producing this renewable power for over 80 years, since Pensacola Dam began operations in 1940.
However, Pensacola is just one part of GRDA’s hydroelectric history. GRDA also built Robert S. Kerr Dam in the early 1960s and the Salina Pumped Storage Project (SPSP) in the late 1960s/early 1970s. All together, these resources play a role in meeting the electrical demands of customers all across the region.
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.
Here are a few other benefits of hydroelectric, shared from energy.gov:
- Hydroelectric power is a domestic source of energy, allowing each state to produce their own energy without being reliant on international fuel sources. For GRDA, the hydro fuel source has always been the waters of Oklahoma’s Grand River.
- The energy generated through hydropower relies on the water cycle, which is driven by the sun, making it a renewable power source.
- Some hydropower facilities can quickly go from zero power to maximum output. Because hydropower plants can generate power to the grid immediately, they provide essential back-up power during major electricity outages or disruptions. GRDA has this ability with all its hydroelectric units.
- Of course, hydroelectricity also contributes to the storage of drinking water. Did you know that GRDA lakes serve as storage for 50 Oklahoma municipal water systems and rural water districts, including Tulsa? Without the presence of hydroelectric plants, that storage might not be available.
There are many other benefits, but these are a few reasons why hydroelectricity remains an important part of GRDA’s generation portfolio, and why GRDA is proud to celebrate National Hydropower Day!
GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: Electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees, and efficiency.