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Dairyland Power Cooperative

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Dairyland Power Cooperative describes itself as "is a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) that provides the wholesale electrical requirements and other services for 25 electric distribution cooperatives and 19 municipal utilities in the Upper Midwest."[1]

On its website it states that "the cooperative’s generating stations (coal, hydro, natural gas, landfill gas, animal waste-to-energy) have more than 1,100 megawatt capacity."[1] Of this 978 megawatts is from coal-fired generation capacity.[2]

Existing Coal Plants

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity
Alma Station WI 1947, 1951, 1957, 1960 181 MW
Genoa Station WI 1969 346 MW
John Madgett Station WI 1979 387 MW

Proposed plant retirements

Alma Station

In December 2011, Dairyland Power Cooperative said it will stop using three aging coal-burning units at the Alma Station, adding up to about 60 megawatts. The three units, all built in the 1950s, generated just 0.4 percent of the cooperative’s power in 2011, and will now only be used only for emergencies. Two other Alma coal plants with 120 megawatts of capacity will continue supplying the network.[3]

New Plants

The Weston Unit 4 power plant, of which Dairyland Power Cooperative has a 30 percent ownership interest, achieved commercial operation on June 30, 2008. Construction on the $774 million project began in October 2004.

The newly constructed 525 MW power plant near Wausau, WI uses "clean coal" technology and low sulfur coal as fuel. Wisconsin Public Service Corp., the majority owner, constructed and operates the plant. The plant was designated as Power Magazine’s 2008 Plant of the Year.[4]

Coal lobbying

Dairyland Power Cooperative is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.[5]

ACAA set up a front group called Citizens for Recycling First, which argues that using toxic coal ash as fill in other products is safe, despite evidence to the contrary.[5]

Study finds dangerous level of hexavalent chromium at Lemberger Landfill waste site

The study "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash," released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011, reported that the level of hexavalent chromium, a highly potent cancer-causing chemical, at a coal ash site associated with the Asheville Plant was 83 parts per billion.[6] That level is 4,150 times as high as California's drinking water goal, and 66% above North Carolina's groundwater standard. In all, the study cited 29 sites in 17 states where hexavalent chromium contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash as well as from studies by EarthJustice, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Sierra Club.[7][8][9][10] It included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, the Lemberber Landfill coal waste site and Dairyland Power Cooperative's Stoneman Generating Station's ash disposal pond was reported as having high levels of hexavalent chromium.[6]

According to the report, the electric power industry is the leading source of chromium and chromium compounds released into the environment, representing 24 percent of releases by all industries in 2009.[6]

A press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[11]

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Who We Are", Dairyland Power Cooperative website, accessed February 2009.
  2. "DPC at a Glance", Dairyland Power Cooperative website, accessed February 2009.
  3. {http://lacrossetribune.com/news/dairyland-to-shutter-three-alma-coal-units/article_4fc77d4a-2096-11e1-8cb7-0019bb2963f4.html "Dairyland to shutter three Alma coal units,"] LaCrosse Tribune, December 7, 2011.
  4. "Weston #4 Coal-Fired Power Plant" Dairyland Power Cooperative Website, October 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash DeSmogBlog.com & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash" Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
  7. "Damage Case Report for Coal Compustion Wastes," August 2008
  8. U.S. EPA Proposed Coal Ash Rule, 75 Fed. Reg. 35128
  9. EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," August 2010
  10. EarthJustice and Environmental Integrity Project, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites," May 2010
  11. "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer, Examiner.com, February 1, 2011.

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