Dairyland Power Cooperative is a not-for-profit electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It provides electric power to 24 distribution cooperatives and 27 municipal utilities that together meet the energy needs of about 700,000 consumers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Dairyland's energy generating resources include wind, solar, natural gas, coal, hydropower and biogas. Its Badger State Solar project, slated to begin operation in 2025, is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes.

Dairyland has experienced how regulatory and legal hurdles can delay clean energy projects and raise energy prices. For example, gaining National Environmental Policy Act approval for its Nemadji Trail Energy Center project took more than six years. Dairyland depends on traditional fossil fuel plants, including the coal-fired John P. Madgett Station and a coal-fired plant in Rothschild, Wisconsin, to ensure reliable electricity for its consumers.

The Environmental Protection Agency's power plant rule allows coal-fired power plants to remain in operation beyond 2038 only if they can achieve 90% carbon capture by 2032. This isn't possible at Madgett Station. The technology isn't yet available, and even if emerging technology were available, it would be prohibitively expensive for Dairyland.

If carbon dioxide could be captured, it would need to be transported for storage. The two nearest possible storage sites are in northern Michigan and Decatur, Illinois, located 370 and 345 miles away from Madgett Station. No pipeline exists, and if one were to be built, it would need to go under either Green Bay and Lake Michigan, or numerous smaller lakes, rivers and nature preserves. For these reasons, a pipeline would not be operational before 2032.

Natural gas co-firing is also not an option for Madgett Station. There are no natural gas pipelines near Alma, Wisconsin. In 2012, Dairyland commissioned a study to determine the cost of bringing natural gas to Madgett Station. Construction costs alone would be $100 million to $200 million in 2012 dollars, not including any costs associated with environmental permitting or the use of private land.

Dairyland's only choice under the EPA's power plant rule is to retire Madgett Station by 2032. This will require the co-op to replace this always-available power. No matter what source Dairyland chooses for replacement power, it will soon begin incurring expenses that will be passed on to its consumers.