SMMPA Breaks Ground in Construction of Owatonna Energy Station

SMMPA Breaks Ground in Construction of Owatonna Energy Station

October 06, 2015

Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) announced it broke ground Monday, October 5th for the construction of its new Owatonna Energy Station, a 38.8 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired power plant in Owatonna, Minnesota. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2017. The total project cost is anticipated to be approximately $44 million.

“We are pleased to begin construction on this important resource for SMMPA and its Members. This project will help the Agency further diversify its resource mix with additional natural gas generation and will be an important asset to help manage future capacity and energy costs” said Dave Geschwind, Executive Director and CEO.

On August 21, 2015, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the required air permit for the new generating facility.  The Owatonna City Council approved the purchase of the property for the plant located near County Roads 75 and 25 on the western edge of Owatonna earlier this year.

A primary factor for selecting this site for the new energy station in Owatonna was to replace the electricity generating capacity lost in September 2010 when the Straight River flooded downtown Owatonna.

“Locating the new plant in Owatonna will help assure reliability for the city since the only local generation we currently have in an emergency situation is a small gas turbine,” said Mark Fritsch, General Manager of Owatonna Public Utilities and SMMPA Board Member. “In addition to further diversifying SMMPA’s generation portfolio, the new plant will significantly increase the local resources available to help Owatonna Public Utilities maintain reliability within the city."

SMMPA has selected Caterpillar, Inc. to install four of its reciprocating internal combustion engines at the new Owatonna power plant.  SMMPA previously partnered with Caterpillar in the construction of SMMPA’s 25 MW Fairmont Energy Station that was completed in 2014.

Ziegler, Caterpillar's local dealer, will continue to support SMMPA and Caterpillar on the Owatonna project. "We're happy to build on our long-standing relationship with SMMPA and its Members on this project, and we look forward to being a part of bringing this new energy asset to the region," said Bruce Erickson, Vice President of Ziegler Power Systems. Ziegler is a family-owned company employing more than 1,700 people in 27 locations throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri.