The Grand River Dam Authority, or GRDA, is preparing to renew its operational license for Pensacola Dam in 2025.
Pensacola Dam forms Grand Lake and 46,500 acres of lake surface area, which provides hydroelectric power generation, flood control and recreation to the community.
Where Pensacola Dam is concerned, GRDA has a long term plan. GRDA will be asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, for a 50 year license, as opposed to 30 or 40 year license, which are the standard for hydroelectric projects under Federal regulation.
"We're swinging for the fences and hope on this one we get a 50-year license," said Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan.
GRDA's current license was set to expire on March 31, 2022, but was extended in this past September for three years. The extension sets the new expiration date at March 31, 2025. The agency requested the extension so as to gather bathymetric data that the City of Miami and those displeased with the operation of the dam have asked for.
The concern is that the lake's level has been kept higher that it should be and that it directly correlates to the flooding upstream, however GRDA opposes the inference.
Despite GRDA's operation of Grand Lake via the FERC license, the Army Corps of Engineers takes control of both Pensacola Dam and Kerr Dam on Lake Hudson, also operated by GRDA, during high water situations.
"There's always been a tension about what FERC is able to say on lake levels and what the Crops has been able to do under their authority," said Sullivan.