Strategy and Climate
MGE is building a utility of the future, advancing clean energy and new technologies for the benefit of all. Through our partnerships with our customers, investors and broader community, we are working toward ambitious carbon reduction goals while fulfilling our mission to provide safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to our communities.
Powering a more sustainable future
In May 2019, we announced a goal of net-zero carbon electricity by the year 2050. This target is based on the latest climate science. It is consistent with the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its assessment of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Our 2050 goal reflects our vision and signals our direction, but it doesn’t determine our pace. Every decision we make is in the context of achieving deep decarbonization as quickly as we can and consistent with the latest climate science while fulfilling our obligation as a provider of safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.
Achieving net-zero by 2050 will require the use of technologies not yet commercially available or cost-effective, but we are well on our way toward realizing our commitment to greater sustainability, to industry leadership and to those we serve.
Climate science partnership with the University of Wisconsin
To inform our work for achieving deep decarbonization and net-zero by 2050, MGE is working with Dr. Tracey Holloway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Dr. Holloway used climate modeling available through the IPCC for an analysis of MGE operations and our deep decarbonization goal. The models suggested that by 2050, emissions from electricity generation in industrialized countries should be 87% to 99% lower than the 2005 baseline. MGE's goal is net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which is a 100% reduction from 2005 levels. The analysis showed, relative to these publicly available model results for carbon reductions through 2050, MGE's goal is in line with or more aggressive than these model benchmarks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change.
The UW-Madison report, Interpreting Global Energy Scenarios for Emissions Planning at the Utility Scale, is available at minds.wisconsin.edu and at mge.com/netzeroreport.
Progress toward our carbon reduction goals
MGE already has reduced carbon emissions 22% since 2005, our baseline. Under our Energy 2030 framework for a more sustainable future, introduced in November 2015, we committed to reducing carbon emissions at least 40% by 2030. This target is consistent with U.S. emissions targets for the 2030 timeframe established as part of the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. The company's pathway also is consistent with the IPCC's carbon reduction pathways as identified in the UW analysis. Consistent with the science, MGE expects to achieve carbon reductions of 65% by 2030.
Energy 2030 also established a goal of 30% renewable energy by 2030 and an interim goal of 25% by 2025, which we expect to exceed by year-end 2022. We have said since establishing our goals that if we can go further faster by working with our customers, we will.
Energy 2030 set our foundational objectives for building your community energy company for the future. It guides our strategy and our work to:
- 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 energy technologies to serve all customers.
- Ensure that new and changing technology serves all customers equitably.
Our strategies for deep decarbonization
The U.S. Mid-Century Strategy (MCS) for Deep Decarbonization is the United States’ strategy for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change to limit global warming. Both the MCS and the IPCC 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.
Growing our use of clean energy
Since announcing our Energy 2030 framework in November 2015, we have developed projects that we expect will increase our owned renewable capacity by roughly 650% by the end of 2022. Growing our use of renewable resources is a part of our strategy for achieving net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.
Our recent clean energy projects include:
- Purchasing 100 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity from the Badger Hollow Solar Farm in Iowa County, Wis. Badger Hollow is expected to provide 50 MW in 2021; another 50 MW is expected online in 2022.
- Purchasing 50 MW of solar capacity from the Two Creeks Solar project, which came online in November 2020.
- Beginning construction on the 20-MW O’Brien Solar Fields project in Fitchburg, Wis. The project will serve local companies, the State of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Madison through our innovative Renewable Energy Rider (RER) program.
- Building our 66-MW Saratoga Wind Farm in Howard County, Iowa. Our largest wind farm came online in early 2019.
- Purchasing an 18-MW share of the Forward Energy Center wind farm in Wisconsin in 2018.
- Partnering with Dane County to build a 9-MW solar installation at the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wis., to serve Dane County operations.
- Expanding our highly successful community solar program, Shared Solar, with a 5-MW solar array at the Middleton Municipal Airport in Middleton, Wis.
Resource planning and carbon regulation
When making generation decisions, MGE engages in extensive resource planning analysis and modeling, which consider many factors including forecasted energy use projections; long-term impacts on customers, investors and the environment; potential future environmental regulations; assumptions related to the anticipated costs of fuel and many other factors related to energy production. Our economic analysis explicitly includes possible projected carbon emissions limits to help ensure our decisions are financially sound—regardless of whether or how carbon is regulated in the future.
In addition, large new generating facilities are reviewed by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to ensure the projects are in the public interest. For larger projects, different generating scenarios are modeled in our regulatory application to demonstrate the need and to justify the cost. All proposals and decisions by the state regulatory body are part of the public record.
Ongoing transition from fossil fuels
MGE has no controlling interest in coal-fired resources and announced several years ago that we would not be investing further in coal-fired plants. In 2011, MGE discontinued the use of coal at the only generating facility in which we have sole ownership, our Blount Generating Station.
In 2016, we reduced our minority ownership in the Columbia Energy Center. MGE reached an agreement with the plant’s co-owners to reduce our MW capacity share by about 14%.
Additionally, as part of a rate case settlement agreement in 2018, MGE accelerated the depreciation of certain assets, including our combustion turbines, Blount Generating Station and Columbia Energy Center Unit 1. The accelerated depreciation schedule will help the company move forward with investments in cleaner sources of energy.
Our mix of resources includes:
- Badger Hollow Solar Farm, Iowa County (first phase expected online in 2021).
- Blount Generating Station, Madison.
- Columbia Energy Center, Portage.
- Combustion turbines, Madison and Marinette.
- Dane County Airport Solar, Madison.
- Elm Road Generating Station, Oak Creek.
- Forward Energy Center wind farm, Dodge and Fond du Lac counties.
- Morey Field Solar, Middleton.
- O’Brien Solar Fields, Fitchburg (expected online in 2021).
- Rosiere Wind Farm, Kewaunee County.
- Saratoga Wind Farm, Howard County, Iowa.
- Shared Solar, Middleton.
- Solar photovoltaic units, Dane County.
- Top of Iowa Wind Farm, Worth County, Iowa.
- Two Creeks Solar, Manitowoc County.
- West Campus Cogeneration Facility, Madison.
We also purchase power through contracts and from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market.
We have made strides to reduce emissions by installing emission reduction equipment and improving equipment efficiencies with our current generation fleet. As we work toward our ambitious goal of net- zero carbon electricity by 2050, we continue to make significant investments in local and regional renewable generation. Ensuring that new and changing technology serves all customers equitably is one of our key objectives under our Energy 2030 framework. We are working to build a smarter, cleaner community grid that serves to benefit all customers.
MGE continues to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts with an initiative that generates electricity from the combustion of methane, which is produced locally by cow manure. As a GHG, methane is at least 25 times more potent than carbon; however, methane as a fuel burns much cleaner and produces 50% less GHGs than coal.
MGE receives energy from a manure digester. The digester converts cow manure from local farms into electricity. For 2019, the manure digester generated more than 11 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, which is enough to power nearly 1,800 households.
Under an Environmental Protection Agency requirement, MGE monitors, measures and reports several GHG emissions annually. MGE tracking covers power plant emissions, natural gas distribution and smaller combustion sources.
Edison Electric Institute ESG/sustainability reporting templates
To advance further transparency and disclosure in company operations and governance, MGE participates in the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) environmental, social and governance (ESG)/sustainability-related reporting templates. The quantitative template includes data related to MGE’s energy portfolio (generation and capacity), emissions, capital expenditures, and human and natural resources. The qualitative template includes information related to our company’s management and oversight of and strategies for transitioning toward deep decarbonization and greater sustainability. These templates are voluntary and industry-specific. Find them at mgeenergy.com/environment.
Partnering with our customers to grow clean energy
In summer 2020, a new 5-MW array came online to serve MGE’s community solar program, Shared Solar. Seventy percent of the Morey Field Solar project at Middleton Municipal Airport serves our Shared Solar program, which offers customers locally generated solar energy at minimal upfront cost. Shared Solar gives residential and small business customers the option to power their household or business with solar energy for up to half of their annual energy use. It’s an affordable option for customers who want to support local solar.
This is the second array for this popular program. The voluntary program began in early 2017 with a 500-kilowatt (kW) array in the city of Middleton. MGE partnered with the City of Middleton to locate the array on the roof of the Municipal Operations Center.
Renewable Energy Rider
Our Renewable Energy Rider (RER) gives MGE the ability to partner with larger business customers who seek customized renewable energy solutions. It is designed to meet the needs and goals of companies 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. MGE has announced more than 37 MW of solar capacity in development under RER agreements since earning regulatory approval in 2017 to begin offering this clean energy option.
Morey Field Solar
State regulators approved in 2019 our first Renewable Energy Rider agreements with the City of Middleton and the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. The City and school district purchase a 1.5-MW share of solar power from the 5-MW Morey Field Solar array at the Middleton Municipal Airport. The array also serves MGE’s Shared Solar program.
The Morey Field Solar project earned MGE a Renewable Energy Pioneer award from RENEW Wisconsin in early 2020. MGE and our partners were recognized at RENEW’s ninth annual Renewable Energy Summit for our innovative clean energy partnership.
Dane County Airport Solar
MGE and Dane County partnered on a 9-MW solar installation at the Dane County Regional Airport under a Renewable Energy Rider agreement. The project, approved by regulators in 2020, covers about 58 acres and began operation in late 2020. It serves Dane County, which has a goal of 100% clean energy for its operations.
O’Brien Solar Fields
MGE also received approval from state regulators for the 20-MW O’Brien Solar Fields in Fitchburg, Wis. The array will serve larger customers—including the City of Fitchburg, Placon, Promega Corporation, Tribe 9 Foods, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Willy Street Co-op and the Wisconsin Department of Administration—under Renewable Energy Rider agreements. The array is expected to begin serving customers in 2021.
Green Power Tomorrow (GPT) is our green pricing program. At a penny more per kWh, GPT is a convenient and effective way for customers to support renewable energy and offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
Today, more than 9,800 customers buy green power through this program. Our GPT program is largely served by our wind resources in the region.
We also work with customers who want to install solar to help power their homes or businesses. These customers connect to our community grid and sell their excess electricity to MGE. We have partnered with more than 1,000 customers to connect their solar installations to our grid.
Collaborations with our communities
MGE has an ongoing collaboration with the City of Madison around renewable energy, electric vehicles, energy efficiency and conservation. Learn more about our partnership to grow the use of all-electric mass transit under “Leading the charge for transportation electrification” in the Strategy and Climate section.
MGE also serves as a member of the Dane County Council on Climate Change. The council includes local government, businesses, utilities and environmental organizations. MGE’s partnership with local stakeholders through the council offers another opportunity to work toward common goals, including deep decarbonization.
MGE is a longtime partner of Sustain Dane, a local organization that has offered innovative programs for local businesses for more than 20 years. During this time, Sustain Dane has been recognized as a leader in helping local organizations set and achieve sustainability goals. MGE and the City of Madison have partnered with Sustain Dane to host Accelerate Sustainability Workshops, which help local professionals learn more about sustainability best practices through local case studies.
Advancing energy efficiency and conservation
Energy efficiency is a key strategy for reducing carbon emissions. MGE is committed to providing customers with the tools and resources they need to make wise energy choices that help reduce their individual carbon footprints.
We strive to “meet customers where they are” to engage them in energy efficiency. Through the use of new technologies, hands-on workshops, energy education, conservation kits and innovative rate options, MGE is helping to empower customers to take control of their energy use to better manage long-term costs and to achieve deep decarbonization.
Managing demand with smart thermostats
Electric use peaks during stretches of hot, humid days when air conditioners run in a majority of homes and businesses. These periods of high electric use put pressure on utilities to generate and distribute enough electricity to everyone who needs it.
More than 800 households participate in MGE Connect®, our smart thermostat demand response program for residential customers. With customers’ permission, minor temperature adjustments are made to participating customers’ smart thermostats to reduce energy use during periods of high demand.
MGE has gained regulatory approval to expand the program to up to 2,500 devices in 2021. The program helps MGE better understand the role and impact of smart devices in helping manage our community grid while helping customers reduce their energy use with minimal possible impact on comfort.
MGE also is working with FOCUS ON ENERGY® and Project Home to make smart thermostats available to low-income households. MGE is committed to working with customers and our partners to help ensure all customers have the opportunity to share in the benefits of new technologies such as smart thermostats.
Working with Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program, is MGE’s partner in educating customers about the value of energy efficiency and conservation. MGE works with residential and commercial customers seeking incentives and rebates through Focus on Energy to make energy-saving improvements. For example, Madison Oriental Market in Madison used Focus on Energy rebates to install new LED lighting. The lighting, along with other energy efficiency investments, is expected to help Madison Oriental Market save about $8,000 in energy costs annually.
Hotel Indigo, located in the former Mautz Paint Co. warehouse in downtown Madison, worked with MGE and Focus on Energy to incorporate energy-saving technologies, such as LED lighting and high-efficiency heating equipment. The lighting and heating combined are saving the hotel $20,000 per year in energy costs. A nearly $17,000 incentive from Focus on Energy helped offset the investment in this energy-efficient equipment.
In 2019, 8% of MGE customers received almost $5 million in financial incentives from Focus on Energy for heating and cooling improvements, smart thermostats, insulation and air sealing, and renewable energy technology.
Conserving energy with On Demand Savings
MGE’s On Demand Savings (ODS) program offers large customers tools and strategies to reduce their energy use, especially during periods when demand for electricity is at its peak. ODS uses an online dashboard to give customers near real-time energy usage information, enabling them to act to cut costs and to reduce their environmental footprint. Some additional features for program participants include:
- Alert notifications by email or text to participants when their building load exceeds a specified threshold.
- Monthly energy challenges that allow participants to set monthly demand and energy goals that are tracked in the system.
- Energy markers that provide participants with the ability to track energy performance from a specific project or milestone before and after a specified date.
The program was recognized in 2018 with an Inspiring Efficiency Award for Innovation by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a regional organization dedicated to advancing energy-efficient technologies, products and best practices.
A third-party evaluation of the program at the end of 2018 revealed high levels of customer satisfaction. The evaluators found an average demand reduction of 7.1% for new customers that had enrolled in the ODS program in 2017 and 2018.
Meeting customers where they are
Our Residential and Community Services team continues to develop new ways to connect with customers around energy efficiency, new technologies and other energy-related needs. Deepening our engagement with customers is one of our objectives under our Energy 2030 framework.
With a partnership to offer conservation kits from Focus on Energy and outreach to introduce customers to our online tools, our energy experts work with community partners and customers throughout the area to answer questions about customer bills, help customers understand their energy usage, identify resources for assistance and more.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MGE residential and commercial account representatives reached out to customers and community partners to help point customers to resources for assistance and to let them know of our commitment to providing safe, continuous, reliable service throughout the public health emergency. Learn more about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Energy expert line and customer engagement
MGE’s Home Energy Line to “ask the experts” is an efficient way for customers to get energy tips and answers to their energy-related questions via phone or email. In 2019, MGE energy experts provided individualized advice to 850 customers and engaged with a total of 5,000 customers throughout the year. MGE also maintains a separate line for commercial and industrial customers who need assistance.
Energy education for our youth
We partner with local teachers, schools and summer programs from elementary school through college to help educate thousands of students about energy, safety, electric transportation, new technologies and career opportunities in the industry.
Simple, cost-effective energy-saving tips for homeowners, renters and businesses are available online from MGE. Customers also can compare their energy use and learn what has helped other customers save. For example, using My Account at mge.com, customers can review their bill, payment history and past energy use and sign up for MGE services. We share energy-saving tips, tools and information on our social media channels and online:mge.com
MGE’s primary site for customer services; account access, paperless billing and bill payment; safety and outage information; and other news, information, programs and services from MGE.
A source for clean energy news, energy-saving tips and information. The site includes locally based videos and features articles around saving energy, MGE’s new programs and services, and initiatives for working together to achieve net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.
Features films and energy-related content with the goal of engaging MGE’s millennial customers in the company’s Energy 2030 framework for a more sustainable future.
Shares stories from MGE’s diverse customer base about what it means to be sustainable from Community members who are living it every day.
MGE has donated more than 50 portable energy meters to area libraries for customers to use. The meters measure voltage, electricity cost and electric consumption. They help customers identify the potential causes of high energy use and better understand the exact operating costs of various items in their homes.
Leading the charge for transportation electrification
Transportation accounts for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The electrification of transportation is a key strategy for reducing carbon emissions. In addition to growing our use of renewable resources and engaging around energy efficiency, we are working with customers, stakeholders, municipalities and other community partners to grow the use of electric vehicles (EV) and to facilitate charging options throughout our community.
We have been advancing alternative fuel vehicles since we began building our EV public charging network more than 10 years ago. Today, the number of EVs on the road continues to grow. MGE is prepared to meet the need with our growing public charging network of more than 40 stations—powered by wind energy—and programs to facilitate charging at home, at work and on the go. Our public charging network features five DC fast chargers, which can provide 60 to 80 miles of range in about 20 minutes.
Enabling charging options
Charge@Home, MGE’s home charging program, makes it easy for EV drivers to charge efficiently at their home, which is where more than 80% of charging happens. With Charge@Home, MGE owns, maintains and coordinates the installation of Level 2 charging stations at customers’ homes. With no upfront cost, customers pay a monthly fee plus the cost of electricity. The program gives MGE the ability to study drivers’ charging habits and to explore remote management of charging sessions to better understand the potential impact of EVs on the grid, including how grid management can help to lower costs for all MGE customers by optimizing our use of resources.
MGE also helps area employers of all sizes and multifamily developers who want to offer employees and residents charging. We discuss options and help them navigate the decision-making and implementation process.
EV engagement at MGE
MGE seeks to engage our employees in our efforts to grow the use of EVs. We offer five workplace charging stations, each with dual ports, to enable charging for employees while at work. Workplace charging offers many benefits, including employee attraction and retention and support for sustainable initiatives.
MGE’s EV fleet goal
We have been testing commercially available fleet operations EVs for more than a decade. We are continuing to add cleaner vehicles to our fleet, where possible, and are targeting a goal of 100% all-electric or plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicles by 2030. Our fleet includes a plug-in electric pickup truck and a Ford C-Max, a step van and bucket trucks with battery-powered technology, and all-electric passenger vehicles including Chevy Bolts.
Electric buses in Madison
The City of Madison is adding three all-electric buses. MGE worked with Metro to secure a $1.3 million federal grant for the zero-emission buses and contributed 100% of the required local matching funds for charging infrastructure for the buses.
MGE is partnering with the City of Madison to help electrify its bus fleet by 2030. As part of the ongoing collaboration, MGE is providing continued in-kind support and expertise to address technological issues and facilitate cost-effective and efficient use of energy.
Zero-emission buses will play a key role in efforts to reduce carbon emissions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every zero-emission bus on the road, carbon emissions are reduced by nearly 1,700 tons over their estimated 12-year life span. With three electric buses, that would be an estimated carbon reduction of 5,100 tons. MGE continues to work with the City to seek ways to further the electrification of transportation. When the City received a Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation grant to help purchase 20 all-electric Chevy Bolts, MGE partnered with the City to provide charging infrastructure for the new fleet vehicles.
Partnering with local school districts
MGE partnered with the Madison Metropolitan School District to install a charging station to serve its electric fleet vehicles. In addition to ongoing educational partnerships, MGE continues to work with local schools to evaluate charging options for their facilities.
Working with regional stakeholders
As part of the Great Plains Institute’s Midcontinent Transportation Electrification Collaborative (M-TEC), we’re working with other utilities, state governments, automakers, EV charging companies and environmental groups to advance EV infrastructure and increase the use of EVs. Working together, our group conducts research, develops white papers and policy recommendations, and hosts workshops for stakeholders in the region.
Sustainable Transportation Series
MGE partnered with Wisconsin Clean Cities, the City of Madison and others to present a virtual educational series for fleet and transportation professionals in fall 2020. MGE’s manager of electrification shared information about EV infrastructure, including MGE’s growing public charging network and our partnerships with businesses to advance EVs and EV charging opportunities.
Resources and tools to educate drivers
MGE helps to educate customers, businesses and our community at-large about the benefits of EVs. Our experts have been on hand at many community events with our all-electric Chevy Bolt to share information on driving and charging EVs.
For example, each year, MGE sponsors the National Drive Electric Week event held in Madison. In 2019, more than 100 local EV drivers registered to showcase their vehicles to attendees. MGE EV experts were available to share information about EVs and EV charging.
In 2018, MGE launched our LovEV website to help customers discover why “there’s a lot to love” about EVs. LovEV highlights available models, explains charging options, and details cost and environmental savings. It is an easy, one-stop online resource at mge.com/LovEV.
The online tool, Explore My EV, gives users the opportunity to compare the costs of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles to gasoline-powered models. The tool, available at mge.com/exploremyev, considers commute distances, available tax credits and maintenance costs, among other things through its online analysis.
EV Owners Group
EV drivers who participate in MGE’s EV Owners Group receive a 50% discount on public charging. In exchange, EV drivers allow their charging information to be shared with MGE to help us better understand public charging behavior and its impact on the grid. MGE also partners with group members to gather feedback on EV programs, pilots and services.
Collaborating to advance sustainability and innovation
By working together with our customers and other stakeholders, we can develop solutions to the energy challenges of our times and reach our shared energy goals. For example, MGE is a partner in the Midcontinent Power Sector Collaborative (MPSC) facilitated by the Great Plains Institute (GPI) out of Minneapolis, Minn.
The MPSC, consisting of utilities, agencies, non-governmental organizations and environmental groups, worked together to develop the Road Map to Decarbonization in the Midcontinent: Electricity Sector. MGE’s local partners in the MPSC include the nonprofit Clean Wisconsin and the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change.
The MPSC brings together diverse viewpoints and priorities to develop options to continue driving toward a lower carbon future and better inform policymakers. The MPSC is one of many partnerships in which MGE is involved to further sustainable energy.
Partnering to grow innovation
MGE Energy is an investor and supporter of Energy Impact Partners (EIP), a utility-focused investment fund. Participation in EIP and similar funds offers MGE Energy the opportunity to invest in early-stage companies that are working to advance sustainability, smart technologies, distributed energy resources and electrification. Involvement in EIP also gives MGE the ability to explore new or emerging technologies through working groups and pilot programs that allow us to partner with our customers.
Technical Work Group
MGE continues to work with the Citizens Utility Board and Clean Wisconsin as a Technical Work Group, examining innovative program ideas in a focused, deliberative fashion. The work group, which began in 2014, seeks to identify ways that MGE can be responsive to our customers’ evolving energy needs while ensuring a modern, sustainable electric system. Some of MGE’s pilot programs, such as Shared Solar, On Demand Savings, smart thermostat demand response (MGE Connect) and Charge@Home, have been informed by the group’s efforts.
MGE is a national leader in electric reliability. We are committed to transitioning to greater use of renewable resources while maintaining our top-ranked reliability. For 2018, MGE’s electric service reliability ranked number one in the country for the fewest number of electric outages and ranked second for the shortest duration of outages per customer, according to a nationwide industry survey including more than 80 electric utilities.
MGE has ranked in the top three utilities in the country for the fewest number of outages in each of the last 12 years. We have ranked number one nationwide for the fewest outages four of the last six years. On average, MGE customers experience about one power outage every three years. That’s compared to a nationwide average of more than four outages every three years. Reliability metrics for 2019 have not been released yet.
A modern grid for the utility of the future
We take seriously our responsibility and commitment to those we serve. The electric grid is a shared resource for the benefit of everyone, providing for the safety and security of a community through safe, reliable electricity.
We’re investing in the systems and capabilities to enable an electric grid that supports new technology such as distributed energy sources like solar and battery storage. We have an important role to play to ensure that new resources and technologies are harnessed for the benefit of all customers.
As new technologies emerge and generation sources evolve, the electric grid is becoming more advanced and complex. This more complex system requires a conductor to ensure the system develops and operates in a way that keeps electricity safe, reliable and affordable for everyone. The role of a conductor to manage the grid becomes more important. As the public utility, MGE serves as this conductor for our community grid.
When the utility serves as the conductor of the electric grid, new technologies and resources can add value to the system because the utility is able to dispatch generation and balance demand as needed. With more sources of two-way power flows—power flowing to the customer from the grid and power flowing from the customer’s generation back onto the grid—a single conductor system provides efficiency in coordinating the different sources of power and the various needs of the grid in real time to maintain a safe and reliable power supply.
This orchestration benefits the utility as well as customers because it helps to ensure the system operates efficiently and is sized appropriately. The utility as conductor can optimize the efficiency and use of the electric system’s assets to help control costs over time, which leads to lower costs for all customers. The benefits of grid resiliency, reliability and a more efficiently managed power system also are captured for all customers, individually and collectively.
Today’s customer expects a grid that integrates all sorts of energy technologies in a way that gives them choice, flexibility and value. New technology is changing how we plan for the energy grid of the future; however, our obligation to serve customers and communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year remains unchanged.