Reducing Emissions

Emission rates

Emission rates from MGE's owned generation assets as they come online, adjusted for MGE's share of jointly owned units.

MGE meets all current, applicable environmental regulations and often goes beyond what is required. Since 2005, we have significantly reduced air emissions by installing new emission-reduction equipment, investing in renewable generation and improving our diversified generation mix.

For example:

  • In the last decade, MGE has grown its wind capacity from 11 megawatts (MW) to 137 MW. The following wind resources serve MGE customers:
    • MGE discontinued burning coal and retired older, less efficient equipment at its Blount Generating Station in 2011. The facility now runs on cleaner-burning natural gas.
    • Major construction projects have added significant emission-reduction controls at the Columbia Energy Center. The most recent project got underway in late 2016. A selective catalytic reduction system is being installed on one of the plant's two generation units. It will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by about 50% from pre-control levels.

MGE owns or co-owns the following electric generation units:

  • Blount Generating Station, Madison
  • Columbia Energy Center, Portage (MGE is a co-owner of this plant.)
  • Combustion turbines, Madison and Marinette
  • Elm Road Generating Station, Oak Creek. (MGE is a co-owner of this plant.)
  • Rosiere Wind Farm, Kewaunee County
  • Solar photovoltaic units, Dane County
  • Top of Iowa Wind Farm, Worth County, Iowa
  • West Campus Cogeneration Facility, Madison

The company also purchases power through contracts and on the Midcontinent Independent System Operator energy market.

Climate change

MGE works to provide affordable, reliable electric service while meeting our commitment to be responsible environmental stewards. Whether it is regulated air emissions or addressing global climate change, MGE takes a proactive approach.

We voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy, energy production strategies and other efforts. In addition, we work with customers who want to reduce their individual carbon footprints.

Carbon reductions

We have worked to reduce carbon emissions under our sequential energy frameworks—Energy 2015 and Energy 2030:

  • Under Energy 2015, we reduced carbon emissions by 20% since 2005—even with a growing population in our service area.
  • Under Energy 2030, we will work with customers to reduce carbon emissions by another 20% by 2030, for a total of 40% from 2005 levels.

Methane

MGE reduces GHG impacts with initiatives that generate electricity from the combustion of methane energy, which is produced locally in landfills and cow manure. As a GHG, methane is at least 20 times more potent than CO2. However, methane as a fuel burns much cleaner and produces 50% less GHGs than coal.

  • Landfill gas. MGE purchases electricity generated from methane at a Dane County landfill. This site currently produces more than 30 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year or enough to power about 4,600 homes.
  • Manure digester. MGE receives energy from a manure digester, which converts cow manure from local farms into electricity. In 2015, the manure digester generated more than 13 million kWh of electricity, enough to power approximately 2,100 homes. The digester also reduces the amount of phosphorus in our local waterways.

GHG reporting

Under an Environmental Protection Agency requirement, MGE monitors, measures and reports several GHG emissions annually. The tracking covers power plant emissions and smaller combustion sources.

Customer partnerships

MGE is committed to providing customers with innovative tools and resources they need to make wise energy choices to reduce their individual carbon footprints.

  • Green Power Tomorrow (GPT), our green pricing program, is an effective way for customers to buy more of their energy from renewable resources and offset their GHG emissions. Today, about 9,300 customers buy green power from MGE.
  • Shared Solar, MGE's innovative new program, offers customers the benefits of solar power without having to build a system on their home. In addition, MGE works with customers who install solar on their homes and businesses to connect to the distribution grid and sell back excess electricity to MGE. Currently, we have more than 250 customers participating in Shared Solar and more than 400 solar installations connected to our grid.