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Winter 2021 Edition
The latest economic development news and opportunities awaiting your business with the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives of the Dairyland Power System.

Vortex Cold Storage Announces Project
in Albert Lea, Minn.

JCW Development, LLC, a nation-wide real estate and property development company, announced Albert Lea, Minn., has been selected as the future home for Vortex Cold Storage, LLC. The new facility will be served by Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (Albert Lea, Minn.)

Vortex Cold Storage will feature 170,000 square feet of state-of-the art temperature controlled Safe Quality Food Certified (SQF) storage, with available temperatures ranging from 40 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The facility will also provide fully customizable warehouse services, including a secure gated yard and trailer storage. The project is being brought forward thanks to partnership with the State of Minnesota, City of Albert Lea, Albert Lea Economic Development Agency and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services.  Groundbreaking is planned for spring 2021.  Click here to learn more.  

Regional EV Charging Network Formed

A group of 29 electric co-ops has created a regional electric vehicle (EV) charging network across Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota named CHARGE EV, LLC. The network includes over 30 Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations.

CHARGE EV recently announced an investment in ZEF Energy Inc. (Edina, Minn.) which has the largest installed base of open standard DC Chargers in the Midwest. The group of co-ops is planning for future growth in EVs, and wants to alleviate “range anxiety,” which is the concern some people have about traveling in an EV without a place to charge their vehicle.

The CHARGE EV infrastructure is just the start as the group plans for additional investments in the EV market including member education on installing home chargers and encouraging members to test drive EVs. Charger locations and other information can be found at www.charge.coopClick here to read more on the launch of CHARGE EV and click here to read more on the ZEF Energy Inc. investment.

Broadband Expansion Projects

Several Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives of the Dairyland Power System are deploying important rural broadband projects through innovative partnerships and grant support. 

AC Skyways (Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative | Postville, Iowa)
AC Skyways , a division of Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative, is the recipient of a $535,000 Empower Rural Iowa Emergency Broadband Expansion grant to expand on a fiber-to-the-home project on the west side of Waukon, Iowa. Click here to learn more. 

Harmony Telephone (MiEnergy Cooperative | Rushford, Minn. & Cresco, Iowa)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Harmony Telephone Company as the recipient of a $9.7 million ReConnect Program award. The $4.8 million grant and $4.8 million loan will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network, connecting 1,579 people, 96 farms and 31 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Howard and Chickasaw counties in Iowa. Click here to learn more. 

MiEnergy Cooperative is an owner of Harmony Telephone Company along with two telephone cooperatives, Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company and Spring Grove Communications.  

Sand Prairie (Jo-Carroll Energy | Elizabeth, Ill.)
Jo-Carroll Energy received a $14 million ReConnect grant. This will allow its broadband division, Sand Prairie, to deploy a fiber-to-the-premise network to an area that includes 7,629 people, 378 farms, 150 businesses, eight public schools, three fire stations, two post offices and two museums in Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside and Stephenson counties in Illinois. Click here for additional information. 

Ntera, (Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative | Cornell, Wis.)
Ntera, LLC received a $3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,044 people, 33 farms and 33 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Chippewa, Rusk, and Taylor counties in Wisconsin. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program. Click here for additional information.  

Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative and Citizens Connected  have joined together to form Ntera, LLC with the "goal of bringing Fiber-Fast broadband services to underserved areas throughout the Chippewa Valley."

Development Opportunities Abound

Former Antler King Building
Black River Falls, Wis.

  • 12,000 square foot warehouse/manufacturing facility
  • 16 - 20 feet ceilings
  • Dock door and overhead door
  • Geothermal heating and cooling system
  • 2 acre site; additional land available for purchase
  • Zoning:  Industrial
  • Utilities:  Electric, natural gas, water, sewer, telecommunications
  • Highway Transportation:  Located 1.3 miles northeast of Interstate 94
  • Location:  45 miles to La Crosse, Wis.; 125 miles to Madison, Wis.; 143 miles to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.  
  • Additional Information

Economic Development Toolbox

USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program

The purpose of the HBIIP is to increase significantly the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The program is also intended to encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

Click here to learn more.  

COVID-19 Business & Economic Development Resources

Visit our website to find information and resources related to COVID-19. 

Community Development Corner

"Rural Voices for Prosperity:  A Report of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity"

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers created the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity in early 2020, seeking to "tap local perspectives on long-term, recent and future economic challenges facing the people, communities and businesses that make rural Wisconsin shine - and to turn ideas into actions that increase economic activity and improves the quality of life for future generations."  Commission members, appointed by Governor Evers, recently completed their work.  Click here to read the final report and recommendations.  

Economic Development Loan Program
available through your Touchstone Energy
® Cooperative

Who We Are
The Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives of the Dairyland Power System provide power to homes, farms and businesses in western Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.  These 24 electric cooperatives are owned and governed by the member-consumers they serve.  For more information about our cooperatives and the community and economic development services we provide, contact us. 
Economic Development Team
Craig Harmes
Manager, Business Development

Jenny Kuderer-Radcliffe
Economic Development Representative
Dairyland Power is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.
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