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Dairyland speaks of adding solar, wind and preparing for nuclear in region at meeting in La Crosse

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Picketers were gathered outside the Dairyland Power meeting in La Crosse on June 5, 2024 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Dairyland Power Cooperative is promoting newer sources of energy, as it holds its annual meeting for members in La Crosse.

Leaders of the cooperative spoke Wednesday of plans to add solar and wind power, and prepare for more nuclear power in the region as ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Dairyland president Brent Ridge told members at the meeting that renewable energy is good, but sources such as nuclear power will be needed for the future.

“We’re gonna do a lot of studying, a lot of communicating on this,” said Ridge, “’cause we need to be prepared for when we move into, really the new nuclear renaissance. We need to be on the leading edge of that, and one of the ways will be through government support.”

Dairyland also expects to have its new Cardinal Hickory Creek power line from Dubuque to Madison in operation by the end of September.

Dairyland Power of La Crosse holds its annual meeting inside the La Crosse Center on June 5, 2024 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

A few members of the Dairyland coop picketed outside the La Crosse Center, saying they had been excluded from the meeting, and wanted to ask Dairyland officials about a new plant being developed near Superior, Wis., which is expected to use fossil fuels.

“Utilities do not make money by selling power,” Rob Danielson, who was protesting, said. “Utilities make money by putting steel in the ground. So when we ask a utility to spend money on a new power plant, or a new transmission line, they’re very happy to do that.”

Danielson added that the number of coop members using their own solar power systems is rising rapidly, even as new power lines and plants are being developed by Dairyland.

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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