Renewable Energy Investments Driving Growth
In the past 10 years, MGE Energy has grown its asset base from $1.3 billion to almost $2 billion. Increasingly, this growth is fueled by investing in generation sources powered by the sun and wind.
"If you want to know an organization's strategic direction, look at where it is spending money," Chief Financial Officer Jeff Newman told shareholders at the MGE Energy 2019 Annual Meeting. "Our direction is reflected by our investments in clean energy generation and technology to serve our customers more efficiently and effectively."
Building value in a changing industry
With no fuel costs and improved technology, cost-effective renewable generation investments are building shareholder and customer value.
In 2018, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) purchased 16 megawatts (MW) of output from the 130-MW Forward Energy Center
wind farm in Wisconsin. In early 2019, the company's $112 million Saratoga wind farm
began serving MGE customers with renewable energy.
An approximately $130 million investment in the Badger Hollow Solar Farm in southwest Wisconsin and Two Creeks Solar in northeast Wisconsin will add 100 MW of solar to MGE's energy supply mix. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with both projects expected online in late 2020.
These projects are in addition to MGE's partnerships with the City of Middleton and Dane County to grow locally based solar energy. In June, state regulators approved MGE's plans to expand its popular Shared Solar program with a 5-MW array at Middleton's Municipal Airport at an estimated cost of $8.6 million. Seventy percent of the array will serve the Shared Solar program.
MGE also is partnering with Dane County to construct up to 9 MW of solar on county land adjacent to the Dane County Regional Airport. This approximately $15 million-dollar project was the first announced under MGE's new Renewable Energy Rider, an innovative model that gives large energy users the opportunity to partner with MGE to tailor a renewable energy solution to meet their needs.
Net-zero carbon electricity by 2050
Continuing to invest in cost-effective, renewable resources is key to meeting our goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.
"Growing our use of renewable resources, and thereby reducing carbon intensity in electric generation, is a key strategy for moving toward a more sustainable energy future and achieving deep decarbonization," said Chairman Jeff Keebler.
Keebler added the company's net-zero carbon goal is aggressive, and it will require technologies still emerging and not yet cost-effective, but it is "where we need to be."
MGE also is partnering with scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to help evaluate the company's net-zero carbon goal in the context of the analyses done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The university will provide expert input and perspective to ensure MGE's goal is consistent with the IPCC assessment.