Dairyland Power Cooperative

Key Events Throughout Dairyland's History


President Franklin Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to help bring electricity to rural America. Electric cooperatives were created and arrangements were made to purchase power from generating plants and build power lines in rural areas.  At long last, farmers could have convenient sources of electricity for small electric devices.

Working together, 10 northern Wisconsin electric cooperatives create the Wisconsin Power Cooperative.

Wisconsin Power Cooperative’s 2,100 kilowatt (kW) Chippewa Diesel Station becomes the first cooperative generating plant in the nation.

Tri-State Power Cooperative is formed by five southern Wisconsin electric cooperatives.


A turbulent period during World War II—Tri-State’s 6,000 kW coal-fired station at Genoa, Wis., is completed.

Just days after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Tri-State and Wisconsin Power Cooperative merge to create Dairyland Power Cooperative.

Dairyland commissioned the Vern Alden Engineering Firm to develop a long range plan—they recommend a $10.3 million construction program.

The Baldwin Diesel Plant begins generating power, followed in the next year by Alma #1 and #2. The first power generated at Alma is sold to NSP.

Post-war energy demands soar. Dairyland applies for a permit to construct a hydroelectric station on the Flambeau River near Ladysmith, Wis.

Frank Linder leaves the REA and joins Dairyland as chief electrical engineer. In his position, he made plans for the transmission system which would later become standard for the REA.


American spirits were high and the economy was flush. Fuel prices fell and electric sales rose for Dairyland, which brought seven generating units online during the decade.

Blood, sweat and tears go into building a 70-mile, 161-kilovolt (kV) transmission line, tying Genoa to Alma, a groundbreaking achievement for construction crews.

Dairyland’s greatest expansion yet—a 161kV line from Alma to People’s Cooperative in Rochester, Minn. The next year, a 161kV line links Alma, Genoa and Cassville.


The Upper Mississippi Valley Power Pool is created, connecting Dairyland with power suppliers as far away as Nebraska, the Dakotas and Manitoba.

Alma #5 goes online at 80,000 kilowatts. Alma #4 and #5 utilize steam reheat systems that reduce fuel use and save over one-half million dollars a year.

Dr. Martin Luther King is immortalized by his powerful “I have a dream” speech and President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. The next year, computers make their first appearance at Dairyland’s accounting department.

MAPP (Mid-Continental Area Power Pool) is formed with Dairyland’s urging. Dairyland moves to the suburbs as more people build homes outside city limits.

Dairyland’s state-of-the-art, 350,000 kilowatt Genoa Station #3 goes online. The massive base load plant generated nearly half of Dairyland’s power in the first year of operation.

Apollo 11 lands on the moon, teenagers party at Woodstock and inflation soars. Dairyland has reduced the cost of delivered power by 47 percent since the late 1940s.


Environmental issues are a focus. After having spent $1.2 million on air pollution control at Genoa #3, plans were drawn for a $12 million environmental modification program.

Dairyland purchases the La Crosse Area Boiling Water Reactor (LACBWR) reactor for $1. The reactor’s operation and safety record was the best in the nuclear industry.

The price of gasoline skyrockets from 35 cents to $1 per gallon. The price of coal increases 80 cents per ton, resulting in the first hike in delivered power cost since the ‘40s.

President Nixon resigns and new President Ford says that “our long, national nightmare is over.” One year later, Dairyland’s Class A sales decrease for the first time in 33 years.

Alma #6 goes online at 350,000 kilowatts and is named in honor of John P. Madgett. Better than eight years had passed from first proposal to power generation.


Electrical growth in the Dairyland system is at an all-time low. Dairyland cancels plans to build a coal-fired facility planned for 1987, as the world watches the “fairy tale” wedding of Charles and Diana.

Dairyland organizes a voluntary load management program. One year later, compact discs are released to the retail music world.

Lower coal prices and surplus capacity contribute to the closing of the Twin Lakes diesel-fired plant. A year later, the LACBWR ceases operations.

As the nation cheers the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dairyland staff move into a modern, energy-efficient new headquarters, with a state-of-the-art system operations center.


At Dairyland’s 50th annual meeting address, Board President, Wayne Willink borrows from Thomas Edison’s business philosophy, “There’s a better way to do it…find it.”

As Johnny Carson gives his last bow as host of The Tonight Show, Dairyland and its members explore new services, such as propane and Internet service.

Dairyland creates nesting sites for the threatened Peregrine Falcon, and is rewarded by the sight of falcon young and the return of parents to the nests year after year.

GEN~SYS Energy is created as a partnership between Dairyland and Cooperative Power, to maximize the value of their generation resources in the wholesale markets. Two years later, Dairyland buys out CP’s interest in GEN~SYS.

Dairyland’s members create EnPower to meet their growing marketing needs. One year later, EnPower consolidates with ESI, a Minnesota venture, focusing on off-system sales.

Dairyland’s demonstrates its commitment to a clean environment with the launch of the EnPower Evergreen wind generation program.


After much preparation and testing, Dairyland and the electric utility industry entered Y2K quietly and reliably.

The 95 MW Elk Mound Combustion Turbine power plant comes on-line. These two units are the first additions to the system since the John P. Madgett Station.

The terrorist acts of September 11 cause Dairyland and the entire electric utility industry to re-evaluate and enhance security measures at power plants and other facilities.

The Evergreen renewable energy program expands with additional wind generation from the McNeilus Wind Farm (Adams, Minn.).

Landfill gas renewable energy is new to Dairyland this year. It is used to produce electricity at the Seven Mile Landfill Gas-to-Energy facility near Eau Claire, Wis.

Dairyland closes a deal with Wisconsin Public Service Corp., to purchase a 30 percent share of the 531 MW Weston 4 supercritical coal-fired facility under construction near Wausau, Wis. The $752 million facility is scheduled to be online in June 2008.

Dairyland’s first “cow power” facilities come online at Five Star Dairy (Elk Mound, Wis.) and Wild Rose Dairy (La Farge, Wis.).  

Dairyland is facing the near doubling of rail transportation costs, causing a 20 percent increase in wholesale energy costs. Dairyland supports legislation to correct railroad abuse and encourages increased competition for rail delivery from Powder River Basin coal mines.

Private Fuel Storage, LLC, a coalition of several utilities including Genoa Fuel Tech (a Dairyland subsidiary), receives a license from the Nuclear Regulatory commission to develop an interim spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Utah. *In 2012, the PFS Board of Directors voted to dissolve the organization, including termination of the license from the NRC.

A key nuclear power plant decommissioning activity occurred this year, as Dairyland contracted with Energy Solutions, a national radioactive waste services contractor, to facilitate the removal and disposal of LACBWRís Reactor Pressure Vessel and other low-level, non-fuel waste to a disposal site in South Carolina.

The 525 MW Weston 4 power plant, of which Dairyland has a 30 percent ownership interest, achieved commercial operation. Weston 4 uses clean coal technology and sophisticated emission controls to minimize environmental impacts. Wisconsin Public Service Corp. is the majority owner of the plant, located near Wausau, Wis.

Dairyland integrates its more than 1,300 MW of capacity into the MISO footprint. MISO, a regional transmission organization, manages one of the world’s largest energy markets.

Dairyland begins purchasing the entire 40 MW output from the E.J. Stoneman Station biomass renewable energy facility. The power plant, owned and operated by DTE Energy Service, is capable of powering 28,000 homes in the Dairyland system with renewable energy.

Wholesale power marketing entity GEN~SYS Energy was integrated into Dairyland.

Three vintage 1950s coal-fired units of the Alma Station cease operation. Alma 1, 2 and 3 are part of the five-unit, 181 MW Alma Station, located in Alma, Wis. This move aligns with Dairylandís generation resource plans that include the continued addition of renewable resources.

Removal and transfer of the used nuclear fuel from Dairylandís LACBWR shut-down nuclear facility to dry cask storage on the south end of the Genoa (Wis.) Site was completed. Final decommissioning of the LACBWR facility is commencing, and is expected to take five to seven additional years.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims awards Dairyland damages of $37.6 million based on costs related to the federal governmentís ongoing breach of contract regarding LACBWR, Dairylandís shut-down nuclear facility. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 gave the government responsibility for storage of the nationís used nuclear fuel, with a deadline of Jan. 31, 1998, to begin accepting the fuel. The award to Dairyland represents costs incurred through 2006.

Over 12 percent of Dairylandís Class A member sales came from renewable energy resources. Several hundred consumer-owned distributed renewable generation installations (photovoltaic and wind) are also sited in Dairylandís service territory.

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A Touchstone Energy Cooperative
A Touchstone Energy Cooperative