News Briefs


“Keeping the Lights On” License Plate Orders Needed

WECA President and CEO Steve Freese displays his “Keeping the Lights On” specialty plate recognizing Wisconsin utility workers.

“Keeping the Lights On” specialty plates recognizing Wisconsin’s utility workers are now available, but more people need to order the plates to meet the quota for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to continue to offer them.

As of January, 418 drivers opted for the plates on their registration. The DOT must receive 500 by the end of 2022. The plates are available with a one-time fee of $15.

Vehicles that qualify to display the specialty plates include automobiles, motor homes, private trucks weighing 8,000 pounds or less, and farm trucks weighing 12,000 pounds or less.

For more information, search “Keeping the Lights On” on the DOT web page at

Emissions Up 7 Percent

According to Carbon Monitor, an academic group that tracks emissions, overall emissions were up 7 percent for 2021 as of the end of October. This falls in line with the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which says there was also a 7 percent increase in energy-related emissions.

Emissions dropped more than 10 percent in 2020, due largely to pandemic-related lockdowns.

Coal, oil, and gas consumption all increased in 2021 as the American economy began to recover. U.S. emissions in 2021 were below 2019 levels, however.

Power sector emissions have dropped by one-third from 2005 to 2019.

Youth Leadership Congress Moves to UW-Stout

The Youth Leadership Congress (YLC) will be held in person this summer for the first time in three years, and youth will be gathering at a new location when they come together July 12–14, 2022. After 56 years at UW-River Falls, the event will now take place on the campus of UW-Stout.

The traditional three-day event is a unique opportunity for youth across Wisconsin to develop leadership skills while learning the purpose, operation, and scope of cooperative businesses. Attendees also have the chance to enter a scholarship essay contest and run for the youth board. Those elected to the board may attend the annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) National Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., the following June.

Youth interested in attending should contact their local co-op or click this link to email Tina Walden.

Dairyland’s Genoa Site Donations Help Local Schools, Organizations

The retirement of Dairyland Power Cooperative’s Genoa Station #3 power plant is benefitting schools and organizations with the donation of equipment and materials from the plant, which officially shut down on June 1, 2021, after 52 years in service.

According to Dairyland, DeSoto High School is using laboratory equipment donations from Dairyland’s Genoa Site. Eleva-Strum School District received professional equipment from the Genoa Site Maintenance Shop for its Cardinal Manufacturing Program at the high school.

Some furniture and infrastructure items are going to Habitat for Humanity in La Crosse for its local ReStore business, which is a discount home improvement store.

Dairyland Power Completes Purchase of Rockgen Energy Center

Dairyland Power Cooperative has officially acquired the RockGen Energy Center, a 503-megawatt natural gas power plant located east of Madison, in the community of Cambridge.

The 20-year-old RockGen Energy Center is a simple-cycle, dual-fuel power generating facility that operates mainly on natural gas. It has the ability to ramp up and down quickly, which provides reliability to support intermittent solar and wind resources. In 2020, recommissioning was completed to allow operation on fuel oil as a backup fuel source. This fuel flexibility enhances reliability in the region if the natural gas supply is limited.

Dairyland announced its intention to acquire the plant last August and the deal was finalized last month.

Biden Advances Clean Energy Measures

The Biden Administration announced new clean energy measures related to grid upgrades, offshore wind, and renewable energy on public lands.

According to the announcement, the administration will invest $20 billion into expansion of the nation’s transmission networks and will target “shovel-ready” projects that deliver clean energy.

For the electric grid, the administration says it will help finance high-voltage transmission lines and other improvements with a $2.5 billion revolving fund, and work with regional grid organizations, utilities, and state regulatory commissions to identify and expedite critical projects.