The Pryor Times

September 7, 2013

GRDA moving forward

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

— “We're in a moment of transition,” said Grand River Dam Authority CEO Dan Sullivan at Pryor's Chamber Forum luncheon Wednesday.

Sullivan said GRDA is moving forward as approved by its board and the governor.

Sullivan said he wants the plant's Generation Plan to “arm as many people as possible with the truth about GRDA.”

Part of the Generation Plan is analyzing the fleet of assets under the GRDA unbrella.

GRDA's production is approximately 13 percent hydro, 25 percent gas, 45 percent coal, 14 percent pumped storage hydro and three percent wind.

Sullivan said GRDA is using its knowledge, and Environmental Protection Agency regulations, to plan for the future, particularly 2017.

On coal fire unit one GRDA plans to convert from coal to natural gas to be used as a peaking unit after construction of a gas plant, said Sullivan.

“On coal fire unit two, we are doing an environmental upgrade to be fully Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)  compliant and continue to generate until 2013,” said Sullivan. “The cost for this portion is divided between us and Kansas Arkansas Missouri Oklahoma Power (KAMO) with our cost being $53 million and theirs being roughly $30 million.”

At GRDA's unit three at the coal fire plant, the plan is to combine a cycle natural gas unit, which the board has approved.

For the future, GRDA is looking to break down generation  differently. By 2017, the break down will be 12 percent hydro, 45 percent gas, 17 percent coal, 13 percent wind and 13 percent pumped storage hydro.

“I think that gives us a very enviable position,” said Sullivan, before moving on to discuss GRDA's impact locally and statewide.

“Frankly people don't understand the full impact of GRDA. People think about the piece they know and forget the whole picture,” said Sullivan.

He pointed out that GRDA’s impact far exceeds its revenue.

“Right now, we have a $453 million impact. We project to have a $700 million impact on the state by 2017,” said Sullivan. “Now that's a story worth telling.”

He said that GRDA contributes to 75 of 77 counties in Oklahoma.

Sullivan said locally everyone knows the impact of GRDA, but the numbers statewide are astronomical.

GRDA provides 4,100 jobs statewide. By 2017, GRDA anticipates the number will rise to 5,000.

Sullivan brought the numbers home, saying that most of the generation assets owned and operated by GRDA are in Mayes County.

Sullivan said GRDA is focused on positive growth and sustainable progress.

“It's important to do what we can to save coal as a resource. We have 90 days of coal in reserve in case of emergency. You can't do that with any other fuel source,” said Sullivan.

He said GRDA takes pride in being environmentally friendly while also being able to pass on savings to the customers.