A small northeastern Wisconsin county is losing its largest private employer. The owners of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant announced it will go dark in six months.
The Kewaunee plant employs 400 people, plus around 200 contractors. The plant sits on the shores of Lake Michigan and is owned by Dominion Resources Incorporated.
Kewaunee County is mostly populated with dairy farms. Jennifer Brown directs the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation, "It's a big hit for us. We're going to feel it not just from a workforce standpoint but obviously from revenues to the county. Then also Dominion was a huge steward of the county, their civic leadership of the county. And then obviously the people they did business with in the county."
Dominion pays nearly $1 million a year in utility taxes to the county, plus payroll taxes. Brown says the impending closure will also negatively impact the county's lodging industry and housing market, "This is highly skilled labor. So highly skilled folks coming into the plant on a daily basis that have bachelor’s degrees, masters degrees coming in and out of the county. Also living, residing in the county."
The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation is working with UW Extension to get real numbers on the hit the community is facing.