Utility as conductor of the modern distribution grid

grid illustration
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.

This increasingly more advanced electric grid requires a conductor to ensure the system develops and operates in a way that keeps electricity safe, reliable and affordable for everyone. 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 and optimize benefits and value over time, which leads to lower costs for all customers. The benefits of grid resiliency, reliability and a more efficiently managed power system 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.

Connected Communities
In fall 2021, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced projects selected to receive grants to integrate buildings with distributed energy resources, such as solar photovoltaic generation and EV charging. A $5 million grant with a $3 million cost share was awarded to Slipstream Group for a project with the City of Madison, MGE and others.

According to the DOE, the plans call for the conversion of about 15 facilities to grid-interactive, efficient buildings and added EV charging nearby. If this project shows improvements in cost-effective efficiency and demand flexibility, it will serve as a model for communities across the country. Connected Communities funding supports projects that expand the DOE’s network of grid-interactive, efficient building communities nationwide to help achieve a decarbonized electricity system by 2035 and decarbonized energy sector by 2050.
Downtown Madison


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