Caterpillar Selected to Power New 38.8 MW Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant in Southern Minnesota

For Worldwide Release: September, 2015
Release Number: EEPR1315

PEORIA, IL – Caterpillar Inc. today announced that the company has been selected to install a 38.8 MW power plant in Owatonna, Minnesota. Powered by four Cat® G20CM34 generator sets, the new power plant replaces a facility that was damaged by the Straight River flooding of 2010. Owatonna Energy Station will be built, owned and operated by Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), a collective agency of 18 municipal utilities, with construction scheduled to begin in 2016.

This is the second utility scale power plant purchased by SMMPA from Caterpillar, following the purchase of the 25 MW Fairmont Energy Station, which is powered by four Cat G16CM34 generator sets. Fairmont Station was commissioned in 2014.

“We are pleased to be working with Caterpillar again 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 it will be an important asset in managing future capacity and energy costs,” said Dave Geschwind, executive director and chief executive officer of SMMPA.  “We value the successful working relationship we have with Caterpillar and look forward to building this new plant together.”

Ziegler Cat, Caterpillar's local dealer, will support SMMPA 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 part of bringing this new energy asset to the region,” said Bruce Erickson, vice president of Ziegler Cat.

Each 20-cylinder, natural gas-fueled Cat G20CM34 generator set will produce up to 10 MW of mechanical output and feature high availability, long life, low fuel and lube oil consumption, and low maintenance requirements. Designed for long-term reliable operations, the G20CM34 is equipped with the proven Cat electronic control system to ensure precise fuel delivery and world-class efficiency.

“Considering the new plant’s fast start, high efficiency and low emissions, SMMPA will be able to offer very valuable services to the local system operator. It will provide black start capability to the City of Owatonna, enabling SMMPA and the residents of Owatonna to better manage their power needs,” said Claudio Martino, regional sales director with Caterpillar. “Instead of relying on remote resources, the region can generate power in their own backyard in a reliable and cost-effective manner that will continually meet a growing demand for energy in Minnesota.”  

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About Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA):

Created by its members as a joint-action agency in 1977, SMMPA generates and sells reliable wholesale electricity to its 18 non-profit, municipally owned member utilities and develops innovative products and services to help them deliver value to their customers. SMMPA members serve over 97,000 residential customers and over 12,300 commercial and industrial customers. The agency’s energy resource mix includes coal, natural gas, diesel, a variety of renewable energy sources including wind, biodiesel, waste-to-energy and landfill gas, as well as energy generation avoidance through aggressive demand side management and energy efficiency programs.  For more information about SMMPA, please visit

About Ziegler Power Systems

Founded in 1914, Ziegler Cat is one of the largest and most successful Cat dealers in North America, serving the construction, mining, agriculture and power-generation markets. Ziegler Cat is a family-owned company employing more than 1,700 people in 27 locations throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri.

About Caterpillar:

For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2014 sales and revenues of $55.2 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Resource Industries, Construction Industries and Power Systems – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit To connect with us on social media, visit

CAT, CATERPILLAR, BUILT FOR IT, their respective logos, “Caterpillar Yellow,” the “Power Edge” trade dress as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission.


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Caterpillar Inc.
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