Power for Progress: Generating Public Power
Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority
Generating Public Power
Although the Grand River Dam Authority’s generation facilities are located primarily in Northeast Oklahoma, the positive impact of the abundant, reliable electric power produced at these facilities has a positive impact that ripples across the state.
In some areas, that impact is very easy to see. It is measured by tourism and recreation dollars (in the GRDA lakes region), the high quality of life and low cost of living made possible by a direct supply of wholesale GRDA power (in GRDA municipal customer communities) and the other economic benefits associated with having the nation’s 25th largest public power utility and economic development engine as a neighbor.
Meanwhile, one in ten Oklahoma communities, including the 15 served by GRDA, own their own electric distribution systems. Spread across 41 counties in the state, Oklahoma public power communities combine to generate over $350 million in revenues each year, and it’s all done without utilizing tax dollars. A large portion of those dollars are then put back to work in the communities, to help fund other city services and again, improve quality of life. In fact, GRDA’s 15 Oklahoma public power partner communities return a combined $35 million to city general funds annually.
From its earliest days, GRDA has been a part of this Oklahoma public power success story. In fact, most of its partnerships with its 15 customer communities are approaching 70 years old, and three relationships are past the 75-year mark. From the first megawatts of renewable electricity produced at Pensacola Dam over 80 years ago and right on through the abundant and reliable power produced by its ultra-efficient Unit 3 combined cycle gas generator (fueled by Oklahoma natural gas) today, GRDA has always been proud to generate public power for Oklahoma.
GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power 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.