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End of the line for the Genoa power plant



A landmark on the Great River Road, about 20 miles south of La Crosse, will be disappearing soon. 

The Dairyland Power plant at Genoa closes officially on Tuesday after more than 50 years of operation. 

Dairyland president Brent Ridge says the plant actually stopped working about a month ago, when the coal supply ran out.  Plans to close the plant were announced early in 2020. 

Ridge says the power plant and its tall smokestack will be history in a few years.

“It will be returned to a brownfield,” said Ridge. “When we drive between here and Prairie du Chien in the future, maybe 5 years down the road, you will not know that the power plant was ever there.”    

A nuclear reactor at Genoa was discontinued in the late 80’s, and Ridge says some canisters of spent nuclear fuel remain at the plant site for now.   Both the reactor and the coal plant were closed for financial reasons.

Ridge says Dairyland has succeeded in finding new work for most of the 80 employees at Genoa.

“It looks like we’re gonna find spots for 90 per cent of the people, either through early retirement, internal employment, or outplacement, which was helped by a really great training program,” Ridge said.


A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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