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Co-ops pro-solar, concerned over proposed third-party community solar bill

On Aug. 5, Wisconsin Sen. Duey Stroebel (Saukville) introduced SB 490 to the State Senate. Co-authored by State Rep. Tim Ramthun (Campbellsport), the bill would allow third-party community solar programs in Wisconsin. Third-party community solar is when a non-utility entity builds a solar array and sells subscriptions for the power generated by the array to utility customers. As proposed, SB 490 would apply to investor-owned utilities; electric cooperatives are currently exempt. However, policymakers could amend the bill and include cooperatives in the future.

As your local electric cooperative, we support renewable energy and common-sense solutions to reduce our carbon intensity. However, we want to make sure it is done in a way that is equitable for all members, supports a safe and reliable power grid, and doesn’t push additional costs onto non-subscribers. As a cooperative, we are concerned that, as written, the bill does not accomplish these objectives. 

Dairyland Power Cooperative is our wholesale power provider and has set a goal to reduce their carbon intensity by 50 percent over 2005 levels by 2030. Currently, renewable energy makes up about 24 percent of Dairyland’s generation mix. In January, they began purchasing the electricity generated from 52 megawatts (MW) of the Tatanka Ridge Wind Farm. By 2023, they will add the 149 MW Badger State Solar array into their energy mix. This is building on the 18 local, distributed solar facilities totaling 25 MW already located in Dairyland's four-state service area.

As Dairyland transitions to more renewable generation, their main goal is to maintain reliable, safe and affordable electricity for members. We have extreme weather in Wisconsin and do not want to leave our members without power in the heat of summer or middle of a polar vortex.

Jump River Electric Cooperative supports renewable energy solutions that secure a reliable and economical energy future for all cooperative members.

Dairyland Power Cooperative Director Report

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Cooperative At Work

HARRIS NAMED 

GENERAL MANAGER/CEO

Kurt Harris recently transitioned into the position of Jump River Electric Cooperative’s (JREC) General Manager/CEO.  “I was fortunate to work alongside former Interim General Manager Mike Schaefer for the past eleven months and was able to gather some of his extensive knowledge.  I’m excited to begin my new role at the Cooperative,” Kurt said.

Kurt started at Jump River Electric in 2005 as an apprentice lineman and later earned his journeyman’s license.  His experience also includes serving as a meter tech/lineman, general foreman, operations manager, and most recently as the assistant manager.   

“Jump River Electric Cooperative will continue to work on improving our overall infrastructure, safety, and service reliability as technology continues to emerge.  I want to make sure we embrace this technology in the ways that benefit our members,” Kurt said.

Kurt and his wife, Stefanie, have two children and are members of the Cooperative.  Their kids attend the School District of Flambeau where Stefanie works as the district’s finance secretary.   As a family, they enjoy traveling, outdoor activities, and being an active member of the community.

Jump River Electric Co-op CEO Prepares for the Future

CEO Kurt Harris (above left) recently received his Management Internship Program graduation certificate from National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Gary Pfann.

The Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program (MIP) is a series of workshops offered by the NRECA in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin.  The program guides participants through all facets of the electric utility industry, including the many changes occurring around the nation.

MIP participants go through three 10-day sessions designed to challenge and educate in new, innovative management techniques.  Participants leave with a better understanding of what consumers want and how to ensure they get it.

By also covering the unique principles that govern the operations of electric cooperatives, the program helps the co-op analyze other business ventures it may want to enter as well as enhancing the core organization.

Only rural electric cooperative CEOs and top-level management participate in the program. This allows greater emphasis of study on management and leadership challenges and the aspects of consumer-ownership that cooperatives enjoy. Participants focus on member value as part of day-to-day decision making.

Congratulations to Kurt for completing one of the most exclusive management development program in the nation for electric cooperatives.