GPT: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Green Power Tomorrow?
Green Power Tomorrow (GPT) provides MGE electric customers the option to purchase more of their energy from renewable sources. Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of green power added replaces the amount of power generated with fossil fuels.
Most of MGE's green energy comes from wind farms— two in Wisconsin (including MGE’s first wind farm in Kewaunee County) and two in Iowa. A small amount comes from solar electric systems in our community.
We sell the power to MGE residential and business customers for one cent more per kWh than their standard electricity rate. This extra cost covers the slightly higher cost to generate electricity from these resources. Customers choose the amount of clean energy they want to purchase.
Who can participate in GPT?
MGE electric customers—residential and business— can sign up for this voluntary program.
How much does it cost?
GPT customers pay a premium of $0.01 per kWh. The impact on your bill depends on how much electricity you use and how much green power you choose to purchase.
Residential customers can select a fixed amount ($5, $10, $15, $20), not to exceed the actual energy use each month or any percent of their monthly energy use (1% through 100%).
Participating businesses pay the same $0.01 per kWh premium. They also can choose a fixed amount or any percent of their monthly energy use. Prices will not be affected for customers who do not sign up for GPT.
Can this cost change?
The price is subject to periodic review by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. It is based on the difference between the cost of renewable resources supplying GPT and the average cost of all energy supplied to the grid in our region.
The current GPT rate is effective Jan.1, 2019. We will notify customers in advance if the cost changes.
Why is MGE offering this program?
This program gives customers the opportunity to support renewable energy resources, which are more expensive, beyond what MGE is currently providing in its overall energy mix. Other customers may not be able to afford to pay more or may choose not to participate for a variety of reasons.
Why is green power more expensive?
While the wind and sun provide free energy, the technologies used to turn this energy into electricity are still more expensive than the technologies used in traditional power plants. Therefore, the price of electricity produced from the wind and sun is higher.
Why would a customer pay more for green power if they can choose less expensive options?
Buying green power offers customers an opportunity to significantly reduce their individual impact on the environment. Renewable resources like wind and solar are constantly replenished and cleaner than fossil fuels. Burning coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and other emissions.
Why would I want to spend more money to pay for something everyone will benefit from (even if they choose not to pay)?
By choosing to pay slightly more for renewable energy, you are creating demand for and participating in a market for regional sources of renewable energy. You have a direct, positive effect on decisions to develop more renewable energy sources.
Others may choose not to participate for a variety of reasons and some customers cannot afford to pay extra for renewable energy.
Why can’t the cost be spread over all customers instead of just those who request green power?
As a regulated utility, we strive to provide electricity at the lowest cost possible. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin requires all utilities to use some renewable energy. The costs for this mandated amount of renewable energy are spread across all customers.
Wind and solar energy offered through GPT is above and beyond this mandated amount. MGE makes it available because some customers want more. These customers can choose to pay the higher cost to generate electricity using renewable resources.
If I don’t participate, does this program affect my rates?
No. MGE designed this program to allow customers who wish to support additional renewable energy the option to do so without affecting the rates of those who choose not to participate.
Isn’t MGE legally required to provide renewable sources of electricity for everyone?
Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires all electric utilities to use 10% of renewable energy. MGE meets this requirement, which represents approximately 12% of our total electric mix. The costs to supply this mandated renewable energy are spread across all customers. The green pricing program allows MGE to go beyond this level.
How does my GPT purchase make a difference?
MGE converts energy from many fuels to make electricity (coal, gas, biomass, wind). If you choose to purchase green power, you are responsible for our using this “fuel” rather than another to generate the electricity you need. These costs are not included in others’ energy rates, and MGE could not add this additional renewable energy supply without the voluntary commitment of those customers who support it.
As with our other operations, MGE’s green power generation, purchases and sales are closely monitored and audited by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to make sure that the extra amount of green power generated equals the amount purchased by our customers.
Will I have more green power at my home?
We can’t control which electrons flow into your home. All electricity that is generated is fed into an electric grid. A convenient analogy is to think of this grid as a pool. Different generators (coal, natural gas and wind) all feed electricity into this pool. When you need electricity, electrons flow out of this pool to your home or business. While the laws of physics make it impossible to separate a green electron from one produced by fossil fuels, MGE adds more wind energy to the pool based on the amount participating customers have said they will purchase.