Dairyland Power Cooperative

A wholesale electric power company, Dairyland Power Cooperative is the owner and operator of a number of power stations in the Great Lakes region, and sells electrical current to a total of 25 local utility companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. Formed originally in 1941, the company is headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin, employs approximately 625 workers, and produces electricity from three generating stations. The cooperative also uses natural gas, hydropower, wind and animal waste as its fuel sources and is currently experimenting with ways to expand these alternative fuel opportunities.

Dairyland Power Cooperative operates the Alma Generating Station in Alma, Wisconsin, the nearby John P. Madgett Station and the Genoa #3 Station located about 20 miles south of La Crosse. The Alma station was commissioned in 1947 and today has a total of five coal-burning units that have a nameplate output of 214 megawatts. The John P. Madgett station was completed in the 1970s and produces a total of 400 megawatts of electricity. The Genoa #3 station, completed in 1969, has a maximum output of 379 megawatts from single generating unit.

In addition to the above named power stations, Dairyland Power Cooperative purchases electricity from the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor, the Weston #4 Power Plant, the Elk Mountain Combustion Turbines, and the Flambeau Hydroelectric Station. Recently DPC has contracted for a substantial energy output from the McNeilus Wind Farm in Adams, Minnesota. Currently the total amount of transmission lines operated by the cooperative is in excess of 3,100 miles.

Many of the power plants operated by Dairyland Power Cooperative were built prior to the 1980s, and during that period asbestos was the most commonly used insulating material for industrial factories, metal works, and power stations. Easily mined and sifted, asbestos is a very lightweight material that is fibrous in nature and works as a heat shield and flame retardant. Because of its amazing ability to disperse heat without conducting it, asbestos was used as filler in protective clothing, molded into tiles and even used to coat electrical wires and steam pipes.

It is now widely known that asbestos can lead to serious health problems including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Persons who worked at one of the power stations operated by Dairyland Power Cooperative may have inhaled asbestos fibers and yet not show any symptoms of disease. Asbestos can remain in a dormant state in the lungs for decades before showing properties of a carcinogen. Most of the asbestos in factories and power plants has been removed, but former employees may still be at risk from long-term exposure.