A Wisconsin utility has gained preliminary state regulatory approval to acquire additional capacity from a solar farm in the southwestern part of the state.
Madison Gas & Electric received the go-ahead from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on plans to own another 50 MW from the Badger Hollow II project. It is an extension of the Badger Hollow Solar Farm currently under construction in Iowa County.
“The addition of this cost-effective, locally generated solar energy for all customers will build on the progress we’ve already made toward our goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050,” said Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO. “It also will help MGE manage long-term costs for our customers as we continue to grow our use of renewable energy and drive carbon out of our energy supply mix.”
Last year, MGE got its PSC approval to own the first 50 MW of the Badger Hollow Solar Farm. The 300-MW is being developed by Chicago-based Invenergy. The second phase of Badger Hollow is expected to be online in 2021.
MGE has announced it wants to be net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. The utility’s near-term goal is a 40 percent reduction from 2005 levels by the end of this decade, following Paris Agreement targets.
MGE generates and delivers electricity to 153,000 customers in Dane County, Wisc. It is owned by MGE Energy Inc.
Badger Hollow has been called the biggest solar farm planned on cropland in the U.S. Invenergy is developing the joint venture with MGE and Wisconsin Public Service Corp., a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group.
Privately owned Invenergy LLC has developed 153 projects across four continents, according to its website. Those total more than 24,400 MW of large-scale wind, solar, natural gas and energy storage facilities.
Newly installed solar capacity hit a record 13.5 GW coming online last year, surpassing previous highs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Together, renewables hydro, wind and solar will command close to 22 percent of the U.S. electricity mix by next year, overtaking nuclear (19 percent).
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