The Arrowhead Emergency Generating Station is an 18-megawatt, diesel-powered emergency standby electric generator built by Great River Energy and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative to help improve the reliability of electric service in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota.

The facility is located near the Arrowhead Electric Cooperative substation at Colvill, Minn., approximately 10 miles east of Grand Marais, Minn.

In the past, when a storm damaged the area’s only transmission line, electric service for the entire region was interrupted for several hours. This generation facility helps to isolate the impact of any transmission outage and ensure that the lights stay on for as many members as possible.

The standby generator runs approximately seven to 10 hours a year, depending on the number of storms or other events that damage the transmission system. The generator also runs approximately one hour each month for testing.

  • The generator is secured in a fenced, 2.75-acre section of the facility site. The entire site is approximately 20 acres, to create a buffer from neighbors.
  • Nine diesel-driven generator sets are housed in a building approximately 150 feet long by 50 feet wide.
  • A 35,000-gallon diesel storage tank on site ensures the facility can operate for more than 24 hours without fuel delivery.
  • The facility is controlled remotely by system operators at Great River Energy’s control center in Elk River, Minn.
  • Environmental impact is negligible as the facility runs so infrequently. Also, the facility meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 2 requirements, which call for significant reductions in emissions.

The facts

  • Location: Cook County, Minn.
  • Generating capability: 18 MW
  • Fuel source: Fuel oil
  • Engines: Nine 2-MW Cummins emergency diesel generators
  • Start of operation: May 2009
  • Project site: 20 acres