MGE Seeks Approval for More Solar and Battery Storage
In mid-March, our regulated utility, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), filed for state regulatory approval to purchase solar energy and battery storage from the 250-megawatt (MW) Darien Solar Energy Center. If approved, MGE will own 25 MWs of solar energy and 7.5 MWs of battery storage from the solar park to be built in the Town of Bradford in Rock County and the Town of Darien in Walworth County.
"The Darien Solar Energy Center is another step in MGE's ongoing transition to greater use of cleaner energy sources and carbon reductions of at least 65% by 2030 and our goal of net-zero carbon by 2050," said Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO. "Further investment in cost-effective, clean energy and battery storage technology will allow us to continue reliably serving our customers as we work together to meet our carbon reduction goals. We have said since introducing our clean energy and carbon reduction goals—if we can go further faster, we will."
The Darien project, if approved, is part of more than 230 MWs of new solar capacity announced since MGE introduced its Energy 2030 framework for a more sustainable future in November 2015.
Darien Solar Energy Center
The 2,000-acre project is expected to feature up to 850,000 solar panels. We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, both subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group, will own the remaining 225 MWs of the output and 67.5 MWs of battery storage from the project. Construction is expected to begin in late 2021, if approved. The project is expected to begin serving customers by the end of 2023.
This proposal comes a month after MGE filed for state regulatory approval of plans to purchase 20 MWs of solar energy and 11 MWs of battery storage from the 200-MW Paris Solar-Battery Park in Kenosha County
. Both projects will help MGE to meet future energy and capacity needs cost-effectively as MGE continues its transition away from coal-fired electricity with the planned retirement of the Columbia Energy Center in Portage by the end of 2024. If approved, construction of the Paris Solar-Battery Park is expected to begin in 2022, and it is expected to begin serving customers in 2023.