Dairyland Power’s 66th Annual Meeting Highlights

Our Pledge to the Future

LA CROSSE, Wis., June 13 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 700 delegates and guests attended Dairyland Power Cooperative’s 66th Annual Meeting at the La Crosse Center earlier today.

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The theme of the meeting was “Our Pledge to the Future.” Dairyland’s commitment to reliably meeting energy needs while addressing environmental and economic concerns provided the meeting’s focus. William Berg, Dairyland President and CEO, detailed how the utility will keep its pledge to continue supplying reliable, low-cost and clean energy to members by increasing renewable energy, enhancing environmental controls, promoting conservation and planning responsibly. Berg reminded the audience that a pledge to the future is a two-way street, and emphasized the importance of energy conservation in our everyday lives.

A simple and effective way to conserve energy is to replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL), which use significantly less electricity. Each meeting attendee was given a CFL and Berg challenged them to replace not one, but five traditional bulbs in their home with CFLs. “This goal is very doable. It can be done at low cost; it can be put into place quickly; and it will cause no hardship — you still get the same amount of light,” said Berg.

Hank Courtright, Senior Vice President, Electric Power Research Institute, gave the keynote address, Electricity Technology in a Carbon-Constrained World. Courtright presented on the need for a multi-faceted approach to carbon reductions, including increased use of renewable generation, conservation in homes and businesses, hybrid vehicles and more efficient coal power plants.

“Our analysis indicates that no one technology is a silver bullet — a portfolio of technologies will be needed. However, over the coming decades it is potentially feasible for the U.S. electric sector to first slow the projected increased in CO2 emissions, then to stop the increase, and eventually to decrease emissions while meeting an ever increasing demand for reliable and affordable electricity,” said Courtright.

Kirk Johnson, Vice President of Environmental Policy from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, presented about the impact of policy changes on everyone’s future. Dairyland Vice President, Generation, Chuck Sans Crainte gave an overview of Dairyland’s recent and planned environmental equipment investments at its power plants. Director of External Relations Brian Rude talked to the audience about the effect individuals can have on directing state and national policy.

Clarence Boettcher, Chairman of the Board and director representing Eau Claire Electric Cooperative, presided over the meeting. Bernard Welsh, Treasurer of Dairyland’s Board and director representing Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative, provided a 2006 Financial Report.

Dairyland’s total operating revenues increased to $284 million, compared to $247 million in 2005. Dairyland experienced a slight decrease in total electric sales in 2006. Total sales were at 6.12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) — compared to 2005 sales of 6.18 billion kWh.

Welsh noted that fuel to operate Dairyland’s generating facilities, primarily coal, accounted for the largest annual expense — the plants used about 3.1 million tons of coal in 2006. Despite the expansion of Dairyland’s renewable resources and the investment in 30 percent of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation’s Weston 4 power plant (operational in 2008), more investment will be required to meet growing energy needs. Dairyland will continue to face the need for greater capital for future power plant additions, significant environmental facilities and on-going transmission improvements.

“Dairyland’s Board and management continue to focus on three important objectives while developing Dairyland’s budget: keeping rates reasonable, protecting the member co-ops’ investment in Dairyland and keeping the system healthy and viable for the future,” concluded Welsh.

Along with the meeting, an Expo Center featured a multitude of educational displays focusing on Dairyland services, energy conservation, electrotechnical and renewable energy technologies.

Annual meeting delegates represent Dairyland’s 25 member electric cooperatives and 19 municipal utilities. These cooperatives and municipals, in turn, supply the energy needs of more than a half-million people in a four- state service area.

Dairyland, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, was formed in December 1941. Today, the cooperative’s generating resources include coal, hydro, wind, natural gas, landfill gas and animal waste. Dairyland delivers electricity via more than 3,100 miles of transmission lines and nearly 300 substations located throughout the system’s 44,500 square mile service area.

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Source: Dairyland Power Cooperative