Decarbonization goals and strategies

MGE is working to achieve deep decarbonization, consistent with global climate science, as quickly, responsibly and cost-effectively as we can. We’re transitioning our energy supply mix to greater use of renewables, working with customers to manage their use and advancing sustainable transportation with our customers and communities.

Saratoga wind farm

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 global climate science and 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 built on previously set carbon emissions goals for 2030, announcing our goal to reduce carbon at least 80% by 2030 from 2005 levels as we work toward achieving net-zero carbon electricity. By 2030, we expect every MGE electric customer will have 80% fewer carbon emissions from their electricity use simply by being an MGE customer. This goal surpassed MGE’s previous expectation to reduce carbon emissions at least 65% by 2030. We have said since establishing our goals that if we can go further faster by working with our customers, we will.
By 2030, we expect every MGE electric customer will have 80% fewer carbon emissions from their electricity use simply by being an MGE customer.

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Progress toward our carbon reduction goals
With approximately a billion dollars in investment in clean energy expected from 2015 through 2028, renewable energy will play a significant role in helping to achieve our goals of at least an 80% reduction in carbon by 2030 from 2005 levels and net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. Since fall 2015, when our Energy 2030 framework was announced and through year-end 2022, MGE has announced clean energy projects that we expect will increase our owned renewable capacity by more than nine times upon completion. As of year-end 2022, MGE has reduced carbon emissions more than 39% since 2005, our baseline.

Climate science partnership with the University of Wisconsin
To inform our progress toward achieving deep decarbonization and net-zero carbon electricity, MGE worked with Dr. Tracey Holloway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Oceanic Sciences to evaluate our goal. 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

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.

Achieving net-zero carbon by 2050 will require the use of technologies not yet commercially available or cost-effective, but we continue to make progress toward realizing our commitments to greater sustainability, to continued industry leadership and to those we serve. We’ve said since establishing our goals that if we can go further faster by working together with our customers, we will.
Targeting carbon emissions infographic

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 in 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 included 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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