Biogas forms as a result of biological processes in sewage treatment plants, waste landfills and livestock manure management systems. The biogas can be captured and burned for electricity generation.
MGE receives energy from an innovative manure digester that came online at the end of 2013. The biodigester converts cow manure from local farms into electricity.
This biodigester helps power homes and businesses and helps keep area lakes clean. It is located on a farm in the town of Springfield near Middleton.
The project was made possible with the support of MGE. MGE purchases this electricity at a premium price that is well above current market prices for electricity.
Area lakes contribute to the quality of life in the communities MGE serves. Because it is important to our customers, MGE believes it is important to support projects like the digester.
This locally produced renewable energy will significantly reduce phosphorus runoff into local waterways and improve water quality. Previously, a portion of the phosphorus from these farms discharged to the Yahara Watershed. Phosphorus causes green algae and other weed growth in lakes and waterways.
In 2017, the digester generated nearly 14,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, which is enough to power approximately 2,275 homes. This renewable biomass energy is added to MGE's community energy grid as part of its overall fuel mix.
More than 1,000 local renewable energy sources are connected to our community energy grid so everyone can benefit from energy we produce here at home. Our local energy projects range from solar photovoltaic panels to a micro-cogeneration unit.
MGE also purchases electricity produced by another biogas—methane gas from the Dane County Rodefeld Landfill. The Rodefeld generators currently produces more than 30,000,000 kWh per year, or enough electricity to serve about 5,000 homes.