DPC Hosts “All In” Annual Meeting
In June, members of Dairyland Power Cooperative gathered at the La Crosse Center for the co-op’s 2023 annual meeting. There were 361 voting delegates in attendance. The theme of the meeting was “All In,” representing Dairyland’s commitment to its mission to improve the quality of life for cooperative members.
Co-op leaders reported Dairyland is financially stable despite supply-chain disruptions, including coal deliveries, rising interest rates and inflationary pressures over the past year, with margins of $18 million exceeding the budgeted margin of $16.5 million. Dairyland is returning $4.9 million in capital credits to members this year, bringing the 81-year total to $149.6 million.
President and CEO Brent Ridge talked about how the co-op is using innovation and researching new technologies as it remains focused on providing safe, affordable, and reliable power during this time of transition to cleaner energy.
St. Croix Names Dooley as CEO
The St. Croix Electric Cooperative Board of Directors has announced the selection of Rob Dooley to serve as the cooperative’s next president and CEO. Dooley has been serving as interim head of the co-op since March.
Dooley has 29 years of experience with cooperatives. He began his career as a lineworker at Victory Electric Cooperative in Dodge City, Kansas, and has been with St. Croix for 22 years, holding the positions of lineworker, assistant line superintendent, and line superintendent. In 2018 Dooley was promoted to operations manager and has been an integral part of the co-op’s leadership team, according to the board.
Biden Signs Bill to Raise Debt Limit, Streamline Permitting
Last month President Joe Biden signed into law a bipartisan bill that raises the U.S. debt ceiling until January 1, 2025, avoiding a first U.S. government default. The $31.4 trillion public debt limit is now suspended until after the 2024 presidential election.
The bill also seeks to expedite permitting of energy projects to support the clean energy transition. This includes the first-ever reforms of the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and a two-year limit on environmental impact statement reviews of major federal energy projects.
Carbon Dioxide Levels Show “Near-Record Surge”
Carbon dioxide levels measured in May of 2023 are up from May of 2022, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which reports the increase is a “near-record” surge. CO2 levels peak in the Northern Hemisphere in May, and this year’s monthly average was 423.78 ppm, up 3.0 ppm increase from May of 2022, the fourth largest increase in 65 years.
WECA, Dairyland Testify in Support of ATV/UTV Bill
Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association and Dairyland Power Cooperative leaders testified in support of a bill that would allow electric cooperatives to operate all-terrain vehicles (ATV) or utility-terrain vehicles (UTV) on highways. The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities held the hearing May 16 on Assembly Bill 105, which is authored by Senator Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) and Representative Chanz Green (R-Ashland).
The Department of Transportation (DOT) currently allows ATV or UTV use when owned by a municipality, state agency, or public utility, or by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, while engaged in an emergency or if the operation is directly related to the functions of that entity, but electric cooperatives have not been included in that definition of a public utility.
Evers Releases Clean Energy Plan Progress Report
One year after the Evers Administration released the state’s first Clean Energy Plan, the newly formed Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy released the Clean Energy Plan Progress Report. The report details a comprehensive approach including policies and programs, investments, goals, and next steps. According to the report, the goal is to have 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050, and also lower energy bills for families, reduce reliance on out-of-state energy sources, invest in job and apprenticeship training, and create more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.
Washington Island Electric Receives $2.5 Million Grant
The Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin has awarded Washington Island Electric Cooperative a $2.5 million (matching) grant to help complete the final phase of broadband expansion on the island. The news came the same day that Governor Tony Evers made a scheduled visit to the co-op to talk about the project.
“We’ve been able to partner with the folks on Washington Island to bring broadband internet here, and eventually we will have broadband at every single household that wants it,” Evers said.
When the underwater power cable that leads to the island was damaged in 2018 and had to be replaced, the co-op took the opportunity to add fiber lines, making the fiber internet project possible.
The PSC awarded a total of $16.6 million from the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program to 24 projects that will expand broadband internet to 6,042 residential and 276 business locations across the state.