Dairyland Power Cooperative announced June 8 at its 75th Annual Meeting a significant expansion of wind resources, with Barbara Nick, Dairyland President and CEO, stating in her address that Dairyland will purchase the renewable energy from a 98-MW wind project in southwestern Wisconsin.
Dairyland has reached a power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables North America LLC, which will develop, operate and maintain the Quilt Block Wind Farm, located 20 miles southeast of Platteville. The project is currently working through the Midcontinent ISO generation interconnect process. Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with commercial operation beginning toward the end of that year.
“At last year’s annual meeting, I announced that Dairyland was pursuing up to 25 MW of solar energy. This year, as we celebrate our 75th year of serving our members, we demonstrate that we do what we say. Ground is breaking on our 12 solar energy projects in western Wisconsin,” said Nick. “Dairyland’s growing solar and wind initiatives are key components of our strategic objective of Resource Diversification—essentially, less coal, with more renewables and low-emitting generation sources. Having said that, our existing coal facilities—complete with $300 million in environmental control technology—are still essential to reliability.”
Approximately 600 electric cooperative leaders and guests attended Dairyland’s 75th annual meeting at the La Crosse Center on June 8. Dan Korn, Chairman of the Board and director representing Vernon Electric Cooperative, presided over the meeting.
Dairyland Vice President and CFO Phil Moilien provided a 2015 Financial Report. Dairyland’s Board of Directors approved a 2016 budget with less than 2% average wholesale rate increase over 2015. The largest contributing costs are associated with planned environmental improvements, local and regional transmission improvements/projects, the cost of fuel and transportation, purchased power and transmission costs from others.
Overall, Dairyland’s year-end results were positive with an increase in margins, strengthening Dairyland’s overall financial position. For 2015, net margins increased to $26.7 million, up from 2014 margins $22.9 million.
Dairyland’s total net generation and purchased power decreased from 6.5 billion kWh in 2014 to 5.9 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2015. A mild winter and decreased energy use by some commercial customers contributed to lower energy loads. Class A members showed a slight decrease from 4.9 billion kWh in 2014 to 4.8 billion kWh. Total operating revenues for 2015 decreased to $418.3 million, as compared to $447.7 million in 2014.
Headquartered in La Crosse, Wis., Dairyland provides the wholesale electrical requirements for 25 distribution cooperatives and 17 municipal utilities. These cooperatives and municipals, in turn, supply the energy needs of more than a half-million people in the four-state service area. Today, the cooperative’s generating resources include coal, natural gas, hydro, wind, solar and biogas. Dairyland delivers electricity via 3,195 miles of transmission lines and 292 substations located throughout the system’s 44,500 square mile service area.
EDP Renewables North America and its subsidiaries develop, construct, own, and operate wind farms and solar parks throughout North America. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, with 37 wind farms, two solar parks, and 10 regional and development offices across the United States, EDPR NA has developed more than 5,000 MW and operates more than 4,600 MW.