Net-Zero Carbon Electricity by 2050
Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) is working toward a more sustainable future for the benefit of all of its investors, employees, customers and the broader community. The company is targeting net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.
"In creating an energy future for our customers and shareholders, we need ambitious and crucial reductions in carbon emissions that align with the work of the scientific community, specifically the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its assessment of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius," MGE Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler said. "Our net-zero carbon goal is aggressive, and it will require technologies not yet commercially available or cost-effective, but it is where we need to be."
Strategies for deep decarbonization
MGE already has been on a path toward reduced carbon emissions, having previously established a carbon reduction goal of at least 80% by 2050 from 2005 levels. The U.S. Mid-Century Strategy (MCS) for Deep Decarbonization identifies greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80% by 2050 (from 2005 levels).
The MCS is the United States' strategy for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change to limit global warming. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the MCS rely on decarbonizing electric generation, using energy efficiently, and electrifying other energy uses, including transportation. These are the strategies MGE is pursuing and will continue to pursue to achieve deep decarbonization and net-zero carbon electricity. If we can go further faster by working together with our customers, we will.
See MGE's 2019 Environmental and Sustainability Report for additional information.
In November 2015, MGE announced its Energy 2030 framework, which laid out the company's foundational objectives for building a community energy company for the future:
- Provide customers with options they want today and in the future,
- Help customers use energy efficiently and control future costs for all customers,
- Transition MGE to a more environmentally sustainable energy supply,
- Provide a dynamic electric grid that can integrate all energy technologies to serve customers, and
- Ensure that new and changing technology serves all customers equitably.
Since announcing Energy 2030, MGE has developed projects that will increase the company's owned renewable capacity by 600%. MGE will continue to seize opportunities and take advantage of new, evolving technologies to advance its carbon reduction goals.
MGE is working to achieve a more sustainable energy future using the best, most cost-effective technologies as they become available. MGE already has taken action toward its goals:
- Saratoga Wind Farm: The company built its largest wind farm in Saratoga, Iowa. The investment grows MGE-owned wind generation by 160%.
- Forward Energy Center Wind Farm: In 2018, the company purchased a share of the Forward Energy Center wind farm, which—when combined with Saratoga—grows MGE-owned wind generation by more than 200%.
- New Solar Projects: We received regulatory approval to build two large solar projects with WEC Energy Group. The Two Creeks Solar project, providing 50 MW, became operational in November 2020. The Badger Hollow Solar Farm in Iowa County, Wis. is expected to provide 50 MW by the end of 2020. MGE also requested purchasing another 50 MW of capacity at Badger Hollow. Regulators gave preliminary approval in early 2020 for the purchase of additional capacity, which is expected online by the end of 2022.
- Community Solar: MGE's unique Shared Solar project in partnership with the City of Middleton, Wis., came online in early 2017. MGE expanded the program in 2020 with a new 5-megawatt solar installation, Morey Field Solar at Middleton Municipal Airport. Seventy percent of the array serves the Shared Solar program.
- Renewable Energy Rider (RER): Under this program, MGE partners with large customers on customized renewable energy solutions. In October 2018, MGE and Dane County announced plans for a large solar installation on county-owned land near Dane County Regional Airport. MGE will own the solar infrastructure, lease the land from Dane County and sell the energy to Dane County. The 9-MW array is expected online in 2020.
Thirty percent of the 5-MW Morey Field Solar project in Middleton serves two RER customers, the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District and the City of Middleton. The array came online in August 2020.
In October 2020, MGE received approval from regulators to build a 20-MW solar array in Fitchburg, Wis. Known as the O'Brien Solar Fields, this RER project will provide locally generated solar energy to seven local businesses, municipalities and public institutions and will be the largest solar project in Dane County.
The RER model is designed to meet the needs and goals of companies or organizations that support or have signed on to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers' Principles, a collaboration facilitated by the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.
- Transition from Coal: MGE reduced its ownership share in the Columbia Energy Center, one of two coal plants in which MGE is a minority owner. MGE has no controlling interest in coal-fired generation and announced several years ago that it has no plans for additional coal resources.
Enabling new technologies, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and smart home technology, is a priority under MGE's Energy 2030 framework.
- EV Charging: MGE is a utility leader in EV charging with a network of public charging stations that operates on 100% clean energy, an EV home charging program and other programs for employers and multifamily property owners to install charging stations at workplaces and residential properties. MGE is working to grow an emerging EV market and to reduce carbon emissions.
- Partnerships: MGE is partnering with the City of Madison's Metro Transit, which serves the majority of MGE's electric service territory with public transit, to facilitate electric buses and charging infrastructure. The City has a goal to electrify its bus fleet. MGE is providing financial and in-kind support as well as expertise to support the City's electrification efforts.
- Smart Thermostat Program: This program is testing how MGE can reduce peak electric demand through the use of smart thermostats to manage air conditioners. MGE is meeting another objective under Energy 2030 to deepen customer engagement around energy efficiency and conservation.
- Energy 2050 Together Website: One of the ways in which MGE seeks to engage customers and keep customers informed of efforts to achieve deep decarbonization is through mge2050.com, which features clean energy programs and projects, new technologies, such as EVs, and energy-saving tips and information.
Strategic business goals, including environmental performance, factors in executive compensation
MGE Energy's Board of Directors' compensation committee, composed of independent directors, takes into consideration environmental performance, among other factors, when evaluating executive compensation.
MGE Energy's compensation committee considers performance goals that are critical to MGE Energy's success. These goals include earnings, system reliability and customer satisfaction. The committee and board also consider other performance measures such as bond ratings, cost containment, environmental performance and management of day-to-day operations as well as individual performance measures.
The committee employs an independent consultant for its compensation review program.