MGE Targeting Net-Zero Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Distribution System - MGE Energy, Inc. - Madison, Wisconsin

MGE Targeting Net-Zero Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Distribution System

MGE employee unloading pipe for natural gas lines.

Building upon our long-standing commitment to providing affordable, sustainable energy, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) has set a goal to achieve net-zero methane emissions from our natural gas distribution system by 2035. The goal builds on the company’s existing sustainability and clean energy goals.

MGE completed an in-depth analysis and inventory of all its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with its electric generation and distribution, purchase and distribution of natural gas, and other sources. Methane, which is a primary component of natural gas, is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide. It can be emitted during the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas. MGE’s strategies for achieving net-zero methane emissions include:

Enhanced Leak Detection and Repair: MGE will explore strategies, practices and/or commercially available technologies that help the company to meet or exceed current federal and state regulatory requirements surrounding leak detection and repair methods. MGE continues to gather data to improve its inventory of emissions data throughout its distribution system and to inform reduction efforts and strategies.

Implementation of Cost-Effective Technologies and Processes: Improved monitoring of its system and estimated emissions will inform priorities for reduction opportunities. Consistent with those priorities, MGE will implement cost-effective technology to improve the detection, measurement, mitigation and/or reduction of emissions from the operation and maintenance of its natural gas distribution system.

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) to Offset Residual Emissions: MGE will explore the use of RNG in its natural gas system to offset any remaining emissions that cannot be directly controlled by MGE. New technologies, such as carbon capture, green hydrogen (zero-carbon hydrogen) and potentially other alternative fuels, continue to emerge and to evolve. MGE supports the research and development of these new technologies and will explore their potential use as they become available.

If we can accelerate plans to achieve net-zero methane emissions from MGE’s natural gas system—through the evolution of new technologies, such as RNG—we will. MGE is working to reduce overall emissions from its natural gas distribution system cost-effectively as quickly as possible.

Proactive Steps Already Taken

MGE already has replaced in its natural gas distribution system all piping made of cast iron, bare or unprotected steel, and other material considered to be leak-prone. In addition, the company’s leak inspection and repair schedules exceed federal requirements. Ongoing efforts to improve MGE’s system and the company’s partnerships to prevent damages help to advance safety and reduce emissions.

More than half of MGE’s total GHG emissions come from sources already included in the company’s goal of net-zero carbon electricity. Emissions from the company’s fossil-fueled electric generation facilities and purchased power for resale already are included in the company’s goal of net-zero carbon electricity. MGE is working aggressively to transition its electric generation cost-effectively to achieve emissions reductions.

Learn more about our framework to address methane emissions from our natural gas distribution system.