GRDA Power For Progress Column October 21, 2019

Oct 21, 2019

Revisiting Robert S. Kerr Dam…

Five years ago, in mid-October of 2014, the Grand River Dam Authority celebrated a milestone at its Robert S. Kerr Dam hydroelectric facility. On October 17, 2014, the dam turned 50 years old and GRDA marked its half a century of service to Oklahoma with a special celebration at the facility.

Today, in mid-October 2019, GRDA is marking yet another five years of Kerr Dam’s service to Oklahoma and the continued important role it plays in providing renewable power within the greater GRDA electric generation portfolio.

Constructed between 1962 and 1964, Kerr Dam more than doubled GRDA’s renewable, hydroelectric generation capacity when its completion added an additional 114 megawatts (MW) of generation to the 96 MW already available at Pensacola Dam, located just a few miles up the Grand River. Its completion also created Lake Hudson, a 12,000 surface acre lake, with 200 miles of shoreline and a reputation among anglers as one of the state’s premier fishing destinations. Not only did the dam expand GRDA’s generation capability, but also expanded recreational opportunities in the region.

The dam was built near the site where the Markham Ferry once carried passengers across the Grand River, along an important trade route in the 19th century. Because the land in the area sloped gently towards the river, it was an ideal location for engineers to select it for the future home of the new GRDA facility. The year of 1962 was practically brand new when a groundbreaking ceremony was held on a cold January 2. Two years later, construction would be completed.

During the dam’s construction, GRDA also built a facility on the bluff overlooking the dam. This site would become the home of GRDA’s system operations and several other departments which are key to GRDA’s reputation for the delivery of abundant and reliable electricity to customers. Today, GRDA electricity touches 75 of 77 counties in Oklahoma.

It is able to do that because of the foresight of the men and women who built facilities like Kerr Dam over half a century ago and the men and women who have operated and maintained them ever since.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned 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.

Photo Caption Information: A powerful view … This aerial view of the construction of Robert S. Kerr Dam was taken in March of 1963. By October of 1964, the dam would be complete, adding 114 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to GRDA’s generation portfolio. The dam has now been a powerful Oklahoma asset for 55 years.

Justin Alberty
Vice President of Corporate Communications
Grand River Dam Authority
(918) 256-5545