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via power lines, which are connected to the gen- erator and carry electricity to a substation. This renewable power is then transmitted and distrib- uted by utilities to their consumers.


Water Pluses Hydropower brings numerous advantages to


the generation mix, according to GRDA’s Corporate Communications Director Justin Alberty. “Hydroelectricity increases the stability and


reliability of electricity systems because hydro- electric generator units, like those inside GRDA dams, can be started very quickly,” Alberty said. “Taking a hydro turbine from a standstill position to up and running and generating happens much quicker than other generation sources like gas or coal units.” Hydropower is a clean, renewable source that is environmentally friendly and can be used mul- tiple times for power generation. “GRDA is able to harness water at Pensacola Dam, Kerr Dam and the Salina Pumped Storage Project. In that regard, those same water mole- cules can be used repeatedly,” Alberty said. In Oklahoma, hydropower contributes to a thriving recreation and tourism industry on the shorelines of GRDA’s lakes. These lakes also serve as storage for 50 municipal water systems and


rural water districts throughout the Sooner State. One could say water is the gift the keeps on giv- ing; however, as Alberty points out, you have to have abundant water to uninterruptedly enjoy its benefi ts. In Oklahoma, this is not always the case.


Water Limitations


Because water sources are not always plentiful, hydropower generation is typically not used to meet baseload demand, the minimum continu- ous load required from a generating system, pro- ducing electricity at a constant rate. Baseload power plants are traditionally fueled by coal or natural gas. Like other renewable sources such as wind or solar, the availability of water is not constant. Oklahoma has experienced periods of severe drought in which hydropower generation has been interrupted. However, with recent


re-


cord-setting rainfall, water has been plentiful for power generation.


“It is really a trade-off with hydro generation here in Oklahoma,” Alberty said. “We’ve experi- enced periods of drought and limited water in- fl ows just as we’ve experienced heavy rain periods and high river infl ows.”


Still, hydro is a vital fuel source, ensuring reli- ability and diversity to GRDA’s electric genera- tion mix.


“Once upon a time, hydroelectricity was our only generation source, but today, it is an import- ant component in a diverse generation portfolio that now also includes coal, gas and wind re- sources,” Alberty said. “Working together, these resources give us better reliability and help us to keep generation costs down.”


Lighting the Way for Progress For 75 years, GRDA’s water resources have been utilized to power Oklahoma homes and businesses. The state-owned utility is the realiza- tion of a vision: to empower Oklahoma commu- nities. This purpose is intertwined with the story of electric cooperatives that were formed over 75 years ago to improve the quality of life in rural Oklahoma. One electric cooperative, NEOEC, has been a part of GRDA’s progress for more than seven decades. “The proud partnership between Northeast


Oklahoma Electric Cooperative and Grand River Dam Authority is just as strong as it was when our organization was formed 74 years ago,” Anthony Due, NEOEC general manager, said. “Working together in the spirit of cooperation, these two companies continue to deliver depend- able power, lighting the way for progress through- out the region.”


HYDROELECTRICITY ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION


Water Intake Spillway Gates


Penstock


Francis Turbine Generator Powerhouse


GRAND LAKE


PENSACOLA DAM Generator Shaft Turbine


 Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Oklahoma. The 46,500-acre lake has about 1,300 miles


of shoreline, more than any other lake in the state. Different than most lakes, private ownership of land extends to the water’s edge. Visitors and residents enjoy a variety of activities on Grand, including boating, bass fishing, swimming, scuba diving, jet and water skiing.


 Water from the lake enters the intake structure and flows through the six 15’ diameter penstocks at up to 2,317 cubic feet


To explore this infographic in more detail and access more photos, visit Oklahoma Living’s digital edition at www.ok-living.coop or download our FREE app via Apple Newsstand, Google Play or Amazon. Search for “Oklahoma Living Magazine.” Graphic and Kerr Dam photo courtesy of the Grand River Dam Authority


per second each to power the Francis Turbines.


 Water travels through the penstocks and enters the scroll case under pressure where wicket gates control the amount of flow


into the turbine. wicket opening to maintain a constant speed.


 The water driven turbine runner spins the generator rotor by way of a shaft that connects them.


 Water exits the turbine through the draft tube entering the river and flowing downstream in the Grand River then Lake Hudson.


field past a series of copper windings. This process produces electricity at 13,800 volts.


 Using transformers the electricity can be stepped up to 161,000 volts. Higher voltage is used for transmitting power because it


reduces loss over long distances. down for use by GRDA customers.


 Spillway gates are used to release water from the lake when necessary for flood control.


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 As the water enters the turbine it strikes the blades of the turbine runner making it spin. A hydraulic governor controls the


 The generator rotor has 48 copper coils called poles attached to it that spin at 150 revolutions per minute through a magnetic


 High voltage transmission lines transmit the electricity to distribution sub stations where the power is then stepped


Water Discharge (tailrace)


Scrollcase


FRANCIS TURBINE


Generator Rotor


Turbine Blades


Scrollcase


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