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UW researchers’ evaluation puts MGE net-zero carbon goal on path to limit global warming

November 18, 2020

Madison Gas and Electric’s plan for net-zero carbon electricity by 2050 reflects a pace of carbon reduction consistent with limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, according to an evaluation conducted by University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists.

Led by Tracey Holloway, professor in UW–Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the study used climate modeling conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and compared MGE’s goals to modeled, warming-limiting pathways for the electricity sector in industrialized nations.

MGE announced its goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050 in May 2019, making it one of the first utilities to commit to net-zero carbon by mid-century.

“We found that the MGE plan is right in line with the level of reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees through this century,” says Holloway. “Of course, actually meeting this goal would require carbon reductions well beyond one utility. If actions similar to MGE’s plan were also taken around the world, and in other parts of the economy, research suggests it would be effective at keeping the planet under 1.5 degrees warming.”

“MGE chose to partner with Dr. Holloway because she is an expert in the area of climate science. We appreciate the time, effort and considerable research put forth by Dr. Holloway,” says Jeff Keebler, MGE chairman, president and CEO. “MGE is on the path toward deep decarbonization, pursuing globally recognized strategies to achieve an ambitious goal that is consistent with the latest climate science. It is through partnerships like this one and through our work with our customers that we’ll be able to achieve our goals while continuing to serve all customers with safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.”

Read more about the UW–Madison report, “Interpreting Global Energy Scenarios for Emissions Planning at the Utility Scale,” and MGE’s decarbonization goals at