Vinita, Oklahoma – In an effort to add more balance to its diverse electric generation portfolio, the Grand River Dam Authority will soon be utilizing even more Oklahoma wind power.
At its August meeting, the GRDA Board of Directors approved a new wind power purchase agreement that will allow the Authority to receive 100 megawatts (MW) of wind-generated electricity from Apex Clean Energy’s Kay Wind project, located in Kay County, Oklahoma. Apex is building the wind farm near the communities of Newkirk and Peckham, with completion scheduled for some time in 2015.
GRDA estimates this purchase will save its customers about $50 million over the project’s lifetime.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to add more renewable energy to our portfolio,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer/Director of Investments Dan Sullivan. “Additional wind power is a key point in our long-term generation plan and this agreement allows us to use Oklahoma wind to generate long-term benefits for Oklahoma ratepayers. Oklahoma wind provides a greater balance and diversity in the generation portfolio and can equal lower costs.”
“We are seeing an increased interest in renewable power from several of our industrial and commercial customers, and we are excited to use Oklahoma resources to service this growing demand.”
Under another agreement, GRDA is already receiving 48 MW of wind power from the Canadian Hills Wind Farm near El Reno, Oklahoma, which Apex developed and built. “We could not be more pleased to be working with GRDA on another renewable energy purchase,” said Mark Goodwin, president of Apex.
“With this agreement, GRDA will use one of Oklahoma’s most abundant natural resources, the wind, to reduce energy costs for Oklahoma residents and businesses, while generating revenue for Oklahoma communities and Oklahoma farmers.” The Kay Wind project is expected to generate about $53 million in local tax revenue and about $48 million in local landowner payments over the project’s lifetime, in addition to over $228 million in local expenditures on goods and services throughout construction and operation. It is also anticipated to create or help maintain 218 local jobs during the construction phase and 45 local jobs to operate the wind farm throughout its lifetime.”
Landowner Bob Scott, who lives in Kay County and has signed a lease with Apex to put turbines on his property said, “The Kay Wind project will create a new and stable source of income for my family for many years to come. I will still farm the land around the wind turbines without greatly impacting crop yields, and the turbine payments will provide welcome security for my family when farming conditions are less favorable. This project will provide drought-proof income that will benefit the entire community and help keep the farming tradition alive in Kay County.”
GRDA also has agreements in place with TradeWind Energy, Inc for 235 MW of wind power from two other Oklahoma wind farms. With these recent agreements, wind power now accounts for well over 15 percent of GRDA’s total generation capability. In 2012, wind accounted for roughly 3 percent of GRDA’s total generation capacity.
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable electricity touches75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.