The Owatonna Energy Station (OES) is a 38.8 MW natural gas facility constructed on the western edge of Owatonna that is expected to  begin commercial operation in early 2018. OES, similar to its counterpart in Fairmont, utilizes four reciprocating, internal combustion engines that quickly respond to load changes, which gives greater operating flexibility to meet the ever-changing needs of the electrical grid.


In addition to further diversifying SMMPA’s generation portfolio,
OES significantly increases the local resources available to help Owatonna Public Utilities (OPU) maintain reliability within the city.


With a dramatic increase of intermittent generation resources like wind and solar being added the system, the electrical system must be responsive to fill the sudden gaps created by those resources. Power plants like OES and the Fairmont Energy Station (FES), with quick-starting, flexible reciprocating engines, are perfectly suited to support and compliment intermittent generation.

 

In addition to further diversifying SMMPA’s generation portfolio, OES significantly increases the local resources available to help Owatonna Public Utilities (OPU) maintain reliability within the city. OPU had been relying on minimal backup emergency generation since 2010 when the Straight River flooded downtown Owatonna and destroyed their power plant.

 

Four operators oversee operations at OES, as well as a neighboring 16.5-megawatt gas turbine owned by OPU that is under contract to the Agency.