Key Events Throughout Dairyland's History

Key Events Throughout Dairyland's History




  • The 700-foot stack of Dairyland's Alma Station (Units 1-5) was safely demolished utilizing 303 lbs. of dynamite in 418 holes bored into the cement stack. The main building was brought down in 2017; the stack was the last structure to be removed. The JPM station remains at the Alma Site.
  • Dairyland announces the addition of three more utility-scale solar arrays, for a total of 18 sites with 25 MW of generation capacity in each of the four states of the Dairyland system. Together the sites will be able to produce enough renewable energy to power nearly 4,000 homes. Each site will also feature a pollinator meadow under the panels. 
  • Quilt Block Wind Farm is named RENEW Wisconsin's 2017 Project of the Year.


  • Dairyland and EDP Renewables dedicate the 98 MW Quilt Block Wind Farm (Darlington, Wis.). Dairyland will execute a power purchase agreement with EDPR for the entire electric output of the wind farm, which is expected to produce enough electricity to power more than 25,000 homes.
  • Plans for a renewable-energy enabling 525-550 MW combined cycle natural gas facility were announced at Dairyland's 76th Annual Meeting. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will be co-developed by Dairyland and Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE, based in Duluth, Minn.


  • Groundbreakings begin for the first of 15 utility-scale solar arrays to be sited within Dairyland's service territory. Dairyland has power purchase agreements in place with two developers - SoCore Energy (Chicago, Ill. - later known as ENGIE) and groSolar (White River Junction, Vt.) - to purchase more than 20 MW of renewable energy from the facilities in Wisconsin and Iowa.
  • A total of three, 12-kW solar installations are construction at Alma Area School (K-12), Cochrane-Fountain City School (K-12) and De Soto Area Middle & High School. The installations are part of Dairyland's Solar for Schools initiative and are located near Dairyland power plant facilities. A fourth installation was added later in the year at Western Technical College's Independence campus, which supports students in electronics and energy management programs.


  • Dairyland commits to purchasing power from the 10 MW Sartell Hydro station (Sartell, Minn.)
  • The new year begins with a new President and CEO in Barbara Nick. Nick replaces William Berg, who has led Dairyland since 1990 after first joining the cooperative in 1974. 


  • Dairyland leads all Wisconsin electric providers by meeting 165 percent of the 2015 Wisconsin Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). 
  • Dairyland installs two 520-kW solar arrays at Vernon Electric Cooperative (Westby, Wis.) and People's Energy Cooperative (Oronoco, Minn.). The Westby site and other Dairyland solar locations would be recognized in early 2015 at RENEW Wisconsin's Energy Policy Summit.
  • Alma Station Units 4 and 5 are retired and decommissioning of the site begins.


  • Nearly 14 percent of Dairyland’s Class A member sales came from renewable energy resources. Several hundred consumer-owned distributed renewable generation installations (photovoltaic and wind) are also sited in Dairyland’s service territory.


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


  • 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 Dairyland’s generation resource plans that include the continued addition of renewable resources.


  • Dairyland integrates its more than 1,300 MW of capacity into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (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.




  • 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.


  • A key nuclear power plant decommissioning activity occurs, as Dairyland contracts with Energy Solutions, a national radioactive waste services contractor, to facilitate the removal and disposal of LACBWR’s Reactor Pressure Vessel and other low-level, non-fuel waste to a disposal site in South Carolina.


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


  • 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.


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


  • The 95 MW Elk Mound Combustion Turbine power plant comes online. 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.


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




  • Dairyland once again leads the way as a founding member of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives - a national brand promoting the power of rural electric cooperatives in their communities.
  • Dairyland demonstrates its commitment to a clean environment with the launch of the EnPower Evergreen wind generation program.
  • 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.


  • A pair of Peregrine Falcons call the nest box at the Alma Generating Station home and raise three chicks. The chicks are the first successful wild hatch of Peregrines in western Wisconsin in 25 years.


  • 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 installs its first Peregrine Falcon nest box 450 feet high on the stack at the Alma Generating Station.


  • 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.


  • 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 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.


  • Lower coal prices and surplus capacity contribute to the closing of the Twin Lakes diesel-fired plant. In 1987, the LACBWR ceases operations.


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


  • 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.




  • Alma #6 goes on-line at 350,000 kW (350 MW)and is named in honor of John P. Madgett. Better than eight years had passed from first proposal to power generation.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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




  • Dairyland’s state-of-the-art, 350,000 kW Genoa Station #3 goes on-line. 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 on-line at 80,000 kW. Alma Station Units #4 and #5 utilize steam reheat systems that reduce fuel use and save over $500,000 a year.




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


  • 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.


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





  • 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.
  • Alma Station Units #1 and #2 are brought on-line; the first power generated is sold to NSP.


  • The Baldwin Diesel Plant begins generating power.
  • Post-war energy demands soar. Dairyland applies for a permit to construct a hydroelectric station on the Flambeau River near Ladysmith, Wis.


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


  • Just days after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Tri-State and Wisconsin Power Cooperative merge to create Dairyland Power Cooperative.
  • Amid a turbulent period during World War II, Tri-State’s 6,000 kW coal-fired station at Genoa, Wis., is completed.




  • 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.


  • 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.