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Oklahoma Issues $205 Mln in Dam Bonds

By Munichain News Desk

An Oklahoma state authority tasked with maintaining the Grand River waterway sold $205 million in bonds to replace a coal-fired generator with a natural gas-powered generator.

The bonds, issued by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), mature between 2030 and 2042, yielding between 2.75% and 3.75%. They pay interest at 5%. The securities received a rating of A1 from Moody’s Investors Service and AA- from S&P Global Ratings.

GRDA sells electricity to municipalities and businesses in Oklahoma.

The rating “considers the strong cash flow visibility derived from the sale of electricity to creditworthy wholesale customers primarily under long-term contractual arrangements, an unencumbered ability to set electric rates, its low cost generation fleet that results in competitively priced electricity and robust historical financial performance,” Moody’s analysts wrote.

The issuance comes amid a national push to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sector. 

The bond proceeds will fund the cost of building and equipping a natural-gas fired generator, which will replace the GRDA’s last remaining coal-fired generator, according to the official statement accompanying the sale of the bonds. Coal is the highest-emitting form of energy production, though natural gas is also a fossil fuel.

GRDA’s largest client is Google, which has published plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2030. The company operates a data center in northeast Oklahoma under GRDA jurisdiction. Google accounted for 26% of GRDA’s total revenue in 2022, according to Moody’s.

The bonds are special obligations of the authority, secured by a pledge of revenue from the electric system.

Goldman Sachs & Co LLC served as lead underwriter on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for $231 million. The price reflected a premium of more than $26 million. PFM Financial Advisors LLC acted as financial advisor.

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