Madison Gas and Electric to end remaining coal usage by 2035

Published on November 05, 2021 by Chris Galford

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Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) showcased plans this week to end its use of coal-fired generation by 2035, including transferring the primary fuel source at the 1,230 MW Elm Road Generating Station from coal to natural gas by 2030.

“We have said since introducing our clean energy and carbon reduction goals—if we can go further faster, we will,” Jeff Keebler, MGE chairman, president and CEO, said. “By working with our partners to transition to natural gas as the primary fuel source, MGE expects to substantially reduce the use of coal at Elm Road by 2030 and to have no coal-fired power plants by 2035. Our continued transition away from coal and our significant investments in renewable energy represent our ongoing commitment to a cost-effective clean energy transition that benefits all MGE customers and maintains MGE’s top-ranked electric reliability.”

MGE is a minority owner of the Elm Road Generating Station, based in Oak Creek, Wis. It owns an 8.33 percent share of the coal-fired plant, which is owned at large by WEC Energy Group and operated by both its subsidiary and WPPI Energy, Inc. However, WEC announced the Elm Road units will soon be transitioned to natural gas for their primary fuel, diminishing the use of coal until its complete elimination from use by 2035.

For its part, MGE said this will advance its own decarbonization goals, building on other recent retirements in its portfolio. Earlier this year, the company and its partners announced plans to retire the approximately 1,100 MW coal-fired Columbia Energy Center near Portage, Wisconsin, some 15 years ahead of schedule. Both of its units should be out of use by 2025, leading to the elimination of approximately two-thirds of MGE”s current coal-fired generation capacity.

The company’s intermittent goals are to achieve at least 65 percent carbon reductions by 2030 while adding nearly 400 MW of wind, solar, and battery storage by 2024.