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The Dairyland Power Cooperative system has reached a new all-time peak load for the first time in five years. The new record of 1,177.5 MW was set between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2023, surpassing the former all-time peak record of 1,171 MW, set in June 2018. 

(This is the second such record in less than a year; the Dairyland system reached a new winter peak load of 1,038 MW on Dec. 22, 2022, surpassing the former winter peak record of 1,034 MW, set in 2019.) 

Temperatures the week of Aug. 21 soared into the 90s with 100-degree temperatures peaking on Aug. 23. Compounding the problem were high humidity and low wind generation on the regional grid. 

As the heat wave began that week, the regional grid operator (Midcontinent Independent System Operator – MISO) issued alerts to power plant operators and transmission line owners such as Dairyland to suspend any non-essential maintenance or other activities that might increase the risk of a power outage.  

MISO then issued a Maximum Generation (Max Gen) Event on Aug. 24. When a Max Gen Event is declared, MISO is signaling that the regional grid is at an increased risk of not being able to provide enough power to meet the needs of consumers. By issuing a Max Gen Event, MISO was able to call upon additional resources to help balance electricity supply and demand. 

Dairyland offered up all our power plants to run at full capacity. Additionally, Dairyland declared two Full Load Control events on Aug. 23 and 24, to help reduce members’ electricity use during times of both peak demand and peak prices. 

Dairyland President & CEO Brent Ridge noted how crucial baseload generation and reliable transmission systems are to keeping the lights – and air conditioning – on during peak use. “The high demand for electricity during these extreme temperatures also reinforces the need for both the Nemadji Trail Energy Center power plant and the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line," said Ridge. "The completion of these projects is critical to strengthen reliability and help us achieve our carbon reduction goals.”