Looking back on GRDA’s 2023: Part 3

Jan 16, 2024

Summertime celebration … Boats fill the waters of Grand Lake’s Duck Creek during the air show prior to fireworks on July 4, 2023. All summer long, large crowds took advantage of the cooling waters of GRDA lakes and the Illinois River.

The third quarter of 2023 proved to be a very busy time for the Grand River Dam Authority, with summer in full swing and plenty of projects taking place across the system. This week, we look back at some of those moments as we review July, August, and September …

Internally in July, safety initiatives were once again at the top of the list. The GRDA Safety Department held a series of forums for employees in GRDA’s working primarily in generation and transmission roles at the Grand River Energy Center (GREC), Hydro department (GRDA dams) and the Electric Transmission and Distribution Headquarters. Of course, July also brings the peak of boating and floating season each year at GRDA lakes and the Illinois River. Both the GRDA Police Department and Ecosystems & Watershed Management Department were very busy during the summer, caring for the waters under GRDA control, as well as the many visitors who came to enjoy the waters.

In August, GRDA took a major step towards an enhanced electric generation portfolio when the GRDA Board approved a contract for a new combustion turbine-generator with Mitsubishi Power Americas. The new gas-fired generator, to be known as Unit 4, will be located at the GREC. Construction of the 420-megawatt unit begins in January 2024. Late in the month, GRDA once again responded to a request for mutual aid when it sent 15 employees to Tallahassee, Florida to help rebuild the city’s electric system, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Idalia.

The big news coming out of September was the much-anticipated opening of the WOKA Whitewater Park, along the Illinois River. A family & friends preview was followed by a soft opening for the public on September 15. As expected, the crowds were large and reviews for the world-class whitewater park were glowing. The impact WOKA will have on the area economy and recreation industry will only increase in the years ahead. As the month came to an end, there was still a steady stream of visitors to the park.

Next week, we continue our lookback by reviewing the GRDA highlights of the fourth quarter of 2023.