Powering Oklahoma for 80 years

Oct 08, 2020

Generating for generations … The hydroelectric turbines located inside the Pensacola Dam powerhouse have been generating renewable power for 80 years. Along with GRDA’s other generation assets, they combine to supply Oklahoma public power communities with wholesale electricity that in turn has positive impacts on the communities in many other ways.

Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority.

Throughout 2020, the Grand River Dam Authority has been celebrating Pensacola Dam and its 80 years of service to Oklahoma. The dam is Oklahoma’s first hydroelectric facility and has been producing renewable electric power for GRDA customers since its 1940 completion.

While it is located in Northeast Oklahoma, close to other GRDA generation assets, including the Grand River Energy Center, Robert S. Kerr Dam and the Salina Pumped Storage Project, the positive impact of the abundant, reliable electric power produced by GRDA is felt statewide.

In some areas, that impact is broad and measured by the high quality of life and low cost of living made possible by a direct supply of wholesale GRDA power and the other economic benefits associated with having the nation’s 24th largest public power utility (by generation) and economic development engine as a neighbor or power supplier. In other areas, that impact is readily seen in GRDA’s ongoing efforts to care for the natural resources under its control, while managing the waters to support a thriving recreational and tourism industry and broad tax base in the region.

Meanwhile, one in ten Oklahoma communities, including the communities served by GRDA are “public power”, meaning they own their own electric distribution systems. GRDA sells wholesale electricity to these communities. In turn, they distribute that power to the end-user homes and businesses all across town. The revenues generated from those electricity sales are used to operate and maintain the distribution system, purchase more power from GRDA and support other city services, like streets and parks, police and fire protection. All that is done without using tax dollars.

GRDA is proud to be a part of the Oklahoma public power story and proud of the history and service of its Pensacola Dam and other assets, that have been producing power for the state for 80 years.