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Dakota Valley Electric Annual Meeting
EDGELEY, ND - (Katie Ryan-Anderson) - Dakota Valley Electric took its Annual Meeting to "new heights" Thursday, June 12 in Edgeley.

More than 450 members and guests attended the meeting which included a craft show, inflatable games, bucket truck rides, an Authentic German Meal and rides in the Touchstone Energy Hot Air Balloon. They, along with members who voted by mail, re-elected Board Directors Richard Schlosser, Edgeley; Connie Bitz, LaMoure; and Matt Thompson, Wyndmere.

Thursday marked the final meeting for General Manager Jay Jacobson who retires in August after a 42-year career.

"My wife, Lorraine, and I thank you for letting us live and work in this community," he said.

While Dakota Valley is committed to a clean environment, it is also concerned about regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

"It is our job at the cooperative to ensure a clean environment, while at the same time, providing affordable power into the future," Director Bitz said.

The new regulations require power plants to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030. These regulations will have the most effect on coal-fired power plants, which represents 59 percent of Dakota Valley's energy portfolio. Adding to that, DV spent nearly $35 million in purchased power last year, or more than 80 percent of the total cost of electrical service.

If the cost of generating this power goes up, so will rates for members. Dakota Valley Electric is asking EPA to slow down and allow cooperatives like us a seat at the table. Together, the parties can find a sensible solution.

Anticipating these regulations, Dakota Valley, along with Central Power Electric Cooperative, Minot; and Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismarck; have already began to diversify its energy portfolio. Today, 13 percent of the electricity at Dakota Valley Electric comes from wind. A higher ratio of renewables is predicted in the future, as wind generation facilities totaling 400 megawatt are slated to come online by 2016.

"We are also currently examining other options for power supply including gas-fired peaking facilities, combined-cycle gas-fired plants, solar generation or purchase agreement," said Arden Fuher, Vice President of the board.

Last year, Dakota Valley members used 600,000 megawatt-hours of electricity.

Following the meeting, Dakota Valley gave away gifts and door prizes. Purchased from businesses within the service area, the gifts benefited both the members at the meeting and also raised awareness to the goods and services offered locally.

For more information, call 1-800-342-4671.

Dakota Valley Electric sponsored Hot Air Balloon rides as part of the co-opís annual meeting Thursday, June 12. Pictured is Director Matt Thompson, Wyndmere, his wife, Georgia, and their three sons.(submitted photo)