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Delivering Efficient Reliable Power

Power Plant Replacement Project Brings Price Certainties, Cleaner Air

Project Name
Grand River Energy Center Units 2 and 3
Chouteau, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Grand River Dam Authority

Grand River Dam Authority’s (GRDA) customers now have a more reliable, highly efficient and cleaner source of energy thanks to GRDA’s willingness to take risks and embrace innovation.

In 2017, the state-owned agency brought on line the Grand River Energy Center Unit 3, a natural gas-fueled, 1x1 combined-cycle generating facility. It is expected to be the most efficient fossil-fuel generation facility in the United States’ Southwest Power Pool.

“This natural gas unit will provide (our customers with) a level of certainty on price going forward,” said Dan Sullivan, GRDA’s CEO. “Our customers were fully behind us in making that investment decision.”

Engineering and Construction Management

GRDA chose Black & Veatch as its owner’s engineer to help develop bid strategy, prepare bid specifications, oversee technical negotiations, and perform follow-up construction management. Black & Veatch performed its role from inception to commissioning.

The GRDA’s use of the M501J combustion turbine, built by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, is a first in the western hemisphere. The J-series turbine has a thermal efficiency of more than 60 percent.

The turbine is paired with a first-of-a-kind Nooter/Eriksen heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), that features a dual, high-pressure steam drum configuration to support high exhaust gas temperatures from the turbine.

The generating facility adds to GRDA’s diverse energy portfolio that includes a variety of fuel sources to meet the needs of its customers.

Overcoming Challenges

The Grand River Dam Authority completed the Unit 3 project on time and on budget.

The team built Unit 3 while simultaneously performing an air-quality control project on Unit 2, making the Grand River Energy Center an even cleaner source of energy. The agency made highly detailed construction planning a priority to overcome challenges.

Due to flooding along the Mississippi River, delivery of the combustion turbine and steam turbine generators were delayed by several weeks. The team responded by quickly changing the sequence of critical path events, and it rescheduled the use of heavy lifting equipment and craft labor.

Sound contingency planning allowed the team to conquer these challenges; however, nothing could have prepared it for the setback in July 2016.

Lightning struck Unit 2 during peak construction on Unit 3. The resulting fire and destruction to Unit 2’s turbine and generator meant the team would have to rebuild that unit. It also set back construction on Unit 3 by several days.

Although discouraging, the team didn’t let the additional adversity get in the way of its mission: to achieve and set a new standard for efficiency and reliability for power generation; and, to achieve the highest level of excellence in project design and execution through a commitment to quality, innovation and safety.

It revised construction plans once again and picked up where it left off on Unit 3, bringing it to a successful completion.

“The municipal customers are appreciative of what GRDA has done, and the initiative that they've taken to keep Oklahoma a great state by providing low-cost, reliable power,” said Mike Doublehead, General Manager, Tahlequah Public Works Authority.

The project achieved more than 1 million man-hours without a recordable injury. In partial recognition, it received an award for “Excellence in Construction” from a chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc.

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