MGE Announces Planned Retirement of Columbia Energy Center
Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO
In early February, our regulated utility subsidiary, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), announced plans to retire the coal‐fired Columbia Energy Center near Portage, Wis. MGE is a minority owner of the plant, which is co-owned by Alliant Energy and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group.
"MGE announced several years ago it was transitioning away from coal, and this has been a priority since we established our ambitious carbon reduction goals, both in 2015 and our net‐zero goal almost two years ago," said MGE Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler.
The plan to retire Columbia represents another step in MGE's ongoing transition toward greater use of cleaner energy sources and deep carbon reductions. In May 2019, MGE was one of the first utilities in the nation to commit to a goal of net‐zero carbon electricity by 2050. MGE expects to achieve carbon reductions of 65% by 2030.
"We have said since introducing our clean energy and carbon reduction goals—if we can go further faster, we will. This and our significant investments in renewable energy represent our ongoing commitment to a cost‐effective clean energy transition that benefits all of MGE's customers," added Keebler.
In 2018, MGE accelerated depreciation of Unit 1, signaling the company's belief that cost savings could be achieved through early retirement of the units. Since 2017, MGE has announced an estimated $400 million in clean energy projects, which are expected to increase MGE's owned renewable capacity by almost 675% by the end of 2022.
Alliant Energy operates the plant. The co‐owners intend to retire Unit 1 by the end of 2023 and Unit 2 by the end of 2024. MGE looks forward to additional investments in cost‐effective, clean energy projects to maintain its top‐ranked electric reliability and to achieve its carbon reduction goals.
"We're doing everything we can today to lower carbon emissions as quickly and as cost‐effectively as we can," said Keebler. "This plan helps us to manage energy costs for customers and maintain reliability while working toward industry‐leading carbon reduction targets."
Final timing and retirement dates for Units 1 and 2 are subject to additional state and regional regulatory reviews, including approval of replacement energy and capacity resources.