Dairyland Power Hosts Annual Meeting
Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) celebrated its 81st year of service at the co-op’s 2022 annual meeting in La Crosse on June 8.
Despite challenges related to COVID-19 and subsequent supply-chain issues, DPC Chief Financial Officer Phillip Moilien reported strong financial performance at the cooperative, including total margins of $19.5 million, exceeding the budget projection of $16 million, and more than last year’s margin of $15.7 million. Moilien credited good fiscal management and strong performance for the positive financial report, saying key influences were member co-op loads slightly above budget, a favorable regional energy market, excellent availability of power plants during the most critical times of the year, and below-budget operational costs.
“I’m pleased to report that our member cooperative average wholesale rate decreased 2.6% in 2021,” Moilien said. “In 2021, Dairyland provided $17 million of credits to members. Over its 80-year history, Dairyland has returned $144.7 million to its Class A member cooperatives.”
Biden Takes Action to Ease Supply-Chain Issues
President Joe Biden has used his executive power under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost domestic production of solar panels, electric transformers, heat pumps, insulation, and hydrogen-related equipment. The DPA allows the Department of Energy to invest in American producers of these products through purchases and direct investments.
The move to use the DPA to support domestic manufacturing for grid equipment like transformers could help address supply-chain disruptions. Electric co-op managers across Wisconsin report difficulty in obtaining transformers, with months-long delays.
Biden also issued a two-year waiver on potential new solar tariffs following an ongoing probe of solar parts imported from four Asian countries.
Gas Prices to Hit $6
The average price at the pump continues to skyrocket, setting new record highs across the country and the state almost daily. The average national price for regular unleaded topped $5 per gallon for the first time ever in June.
AAA predicts the worst is yet to come, saying the national average could hit $6 per gallon by later this summer. Prices are highest in California, and lowest in Georgia. Wisconsin prices rank 26th among states.
Gas Relief Available for People in Need
Those impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for funds under the Reimbursement of Universal Transportation Expenses program. The Foundation for Rural Housing is offering Kwik Trip gas cards or reimbursement for transportation costs associated with public transportation such as taxi or Uber.
Eligible households will be at or below 125% of the federal poverty line. Reimbursements will total $110 to $350, depending on household size.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to apply is August 31, 2022.
Dairyland Eyes Alma Site to Study Potential for Small Scale Nuclear
Dairyland Power Cooperative has applied for a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to study the Alma location as a site for potential future Small Modular Reactors (SMR). This comes after Dairyland announced in February it had signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale to evaluate the potential deployment of the company’s advanced nuclear technology. Nuclear energy is carbon-free and supports co-op goals for carbon-pollution-free generation.
According to Dairyland, this is another step in a long-term process, and the study may take 10 years or more, allowing plenty of time for discussions.
Focus On Energy Touts Benefits of Efficiency
Every dollar invested in energy efficiency returns more than $4 to Wisconsin’s economy, according to an independent review released by Focus On Energy, which also gave the program high marks for customer satisfaction.
According to the program, since 2011, Focus on Energy incentives and technical assistance have reduced emissions in Wisconsin equivalent to taking 15 million cars off the road and kept 69 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the environment.
Quota Hit for “Keeping the Lights On” Specialty Plates
More than 500 Wisconsin drivers have “Keeping the Lights On” specialty plates on their vehicles, which means the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will continue to make them available, as long as the usage number remains above the 500 plate threshold. As of May 14, 2022, there were 511 valid plates, and 568 total issued since December.
The specialty license plates recognize the state’s electric utility workers, and cost drivers only 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.
New Daily Generation Record Set, Off-Season
According to Dairyland Power Cooperative, the John P. Madgett (JPM) coal-fired power plant set a new gross daily generation record on May 18. The new single-day generation of 9,625.344 megawatt-hours (MWh) surpasses the previous gross generation record of 9,622.47 MWh set during the polar vortex on Feb. 17, 2021.
According to Dairyland, it is unusual to set a generation record outside of the peak hot and cold months. The high price of natural gas is the primary driver, as it spurs increased use of lower-cost resources such as coal-fired generation and renewable energy.