Decarbonization goals and strategies

MGE is working to achieve deep decarbonization, consistent with current climate science, as quickly, responsibly and cost-effectively as we can. Our carbon reduction goals reflect our vision and signal our direction but do not determine our pace.

MGE carbon reductions
Industry-leading carbon reduction goals
In May 2019, we announced a goal of net-zero carbon electricity by the year 2050. MGE was one of the first utilities in the nation to commit to net-zero carbon by mid-century. 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.

In January 2022, we announced our plans to reduce carbon at least 80% by 2030 from 2005 levels as we work toward achieving net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. Achieving net-zero by 2050 will require the use of technologies not yet commercially available or cost-effective, but we continue to make progress toward realizing our commitment to greater sustainability, to continued industry leadership and to those we serve.

Climate science partnership with the University of Wisconsin
To inform our progress toward achieving deep decarbonization and net-zero carbon electricity by 2050, MGE is working with Dr. Tracey Holloway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of 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, which is a 100% reduction from 2005 levels. The analysis showed MGE’s goal is in line with model benchmarks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The full report, published in fall 2020, is available at minds.wisconsin.edu and mge.com/netzero. MGE continues to partner with Dr. Holloway’s team to model air quality improvements with varying scenarios of the electrification of vehicles and reduction in the use of coal.

Progress toward our carbon reduction goals
Since 2015, MGE has announced an estimated $700 million in clean energy projects, which are expected to increase MGE’s owned renewable capacity by more than nine times when completed.

MGE already has reduced carbon emissions 27% 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. MGE has since committed to carbon reductions of at least 80% by 2030. We have said since establishing our goals that if we can go further faster by working with our customers, we will.

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.

Midcontinent Power Sector Collaborative
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 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 to better inform policymakers. The MPSC is one of many partnerships in which MGE is involved to further sustainable energy.


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