Cat Provides SMMPA Solution

By Mike Brezonick08 August 2018

The Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) has dedicated its 38.8 MW Owatonna Station, which includes has four 9.7 MW Cat G20CM34 natural gas generator sets.

Located in Owatonna, Minnesota, U.S.A., the Owatonna Energy Station is the most recent addition to SMMPA’s power supply portfolio. The new power plant replaces a facility that was damaged by the Straight River flooding of 2010 and will provide power to an estimated 25,000 Minnesota households.

“We are pleased to have this new facility on-line, providing reliable and cost-effective energy to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market and hedging energy costs for our 18 member cities,” said Mark Mitchell, director of operations and chief operating officer at SMMPA. “The new Cat units replaced an older gas-fired steam generation plant that was lost to a flood. The new units are much more efficient and flexible to meet the ever-changing demands on a system with wind and solar generation.”

Created by its members as a not-for-profit, joint-action agency in 1977, SMMPA utilizes a diverse energy mix of renewable energy, coal, and natural gas-fired generation for 18 utilities and nearly 118,000 customers.

The Owatonna Station is the second application of the Cat G20CM34 generator sets in the United States. Together with its 16- and 12-cylinder versions, Caterpillar has over 150 of the GCM34 engines installed in the U.S.A. and Canada, representing over 1000 MW of installed capacity in power and gas compression projects, making it one of the company’s most successful medium-speed solutions globally.

“Owatonna is powered by Caterpillar’s largest natural gas generator set on the market,” said Claudio Martino, regional sales manager for Caterpillar Energy Solutions. “The G20CM34 generator set features a 720 rpm, 20-cylinder, natural gas-fired, spark ignited, V-shape, turbocharged and aftercooled engine that allows multiple fast starts per day and achieves high efficiency with low emissions, even in partial loads. These features make the G20CM34 generator set an ideal solution to provide key ancillary services to the local grid, such as spinning reserve and regulation.”

Mitchell noted that it was the second project undertaken with Caterpillar by SMMPA. “We first worked with them to build our 25 MW Fairmont Energy Station in 2013, which is powered by four Cat G16CM34 generator sets,” he said. “We have been very pleased with the Fairmont units which, in part, drove our decision to again partner with Caterpillar on the Owatonna Energy Station. Caterpillar has been very flexible in incorporating our specific needs and interests into the overall design, making them a great power generation partner.”

Ziegler Cat, Caterpillar’s local dealer, will support SMMPA on the Owatonna project. “We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with SMMPA and its members with this project,” said Marc Kocina, vice president of Ziegler Power Systems. “We are honored to partner in providing parts and technical support for this new energy asset.”

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