Vol. 22   No. 1
March 2016
  • MGE Talks Business
Hot Topics

MGE expands downtown network

New and extended federal tax credits and deductions for renewable energy and energy efficiency


The former factory district and rail corridor along Madison's East Washington Avenue is now a hot spot for high-end housing and new commercial space. As this building and renovation boom continues, MGE is planning to meet the area's changing needs.

"The corridor from Blair Street to the Yahara River is ready for redevelopment," said Marty Jacobi, MGE's Director of Electric Distribution Engineering. "With large projects under way and others pending, we want to ensure we can provide reliable electric service throughout this area."

Well-planned action

MGE recently wrapped up a long-term network reliability study. It was conducted to identify reliability and system strengthening enhancements that would position MGE's electric network to keep pace with the growing construction along East Washington. The study recommended extending the network with infrastructure enhancements, including constructing conduit manhole packages and extending feeders along East Mifflin and East Main streets.

"By moving one block off East Washington on each side, we can do the work more efficiently in less-congested areas," Jacobi said.

MGE will kick off this multiyear effort in the coming months. In later years, these infrastructure improvements will continue further east toward the Yahara River.

Spot network

To best serve the high-rise developments cropping up along East Washington, MGE's extended network will be a spot network. It features two circuits with two transformers going to a customer site. On a typical day, each transformer carries one half of the building's electrical needs. If one circuit goes out of service, the other circuit will take over, keeping the power flowing without a service interruption to the customer.

"Redundancy offered with a spot network boosts reliability and makes sense in areas of high density and critical need, such as along East Washington," Jacobi explained.

The Galaxie, set to open this summer, will be the first development on the expanded system. Last fall, MGE extended two new electric feeders to serve transformer vaults on the property. The Galaxie offers more than 170,000 square feet of commercial space on the first three floors with more than 200 residential units above that space. Festival Foods, which is part of this development, plans to open this spring.

MGE also will extend two electric feeders to StartingBlock Madison, which will be located on the site of the former Don Miller car dealership property. StartingBlock, an entrepreneurial hub, will anchor a 170,000-square-foot, mixed-use development.

"Careful, strategic planning combined with our focus on reliability, will help ensure we have the proper infrastructure in place to meet the growing electric needs in downtown Madison and throughout our network service territory," Jacobi said.