MGE's largest wind farm advances Energy 2030 goals
Madison Gas and Electric's (MGE) 66-megawatt Saratoga Wind Farm is fully operational and delivering sustainable, carbon-free energy to the electric grid. MGE and Vestas – the company that built the turbines – have completed testing of the turbines and electrical systems, and the wind farm is fully online.
"Saratoga is serving MGE customers with cost-effective, clean electricity while adding new, more efficient wind technology to our energy supply mix," Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler said. "MGE remains committed to driving carbon out of our energy supply mix and to reaching our carbon reduction goals. Saratoga – and our other proposed renewable energy projects – are steps in our ongoing transition toward a more sustainable energy future."
Consisting of 33 wind turbines, the Saratoga Wind Farm is located about 200 miles west of Madison near Saratoga in Howard County, Iowa. This site was chosen for its strong winds and proximity to existing transmission infrastructure.
Saratoga's turbines reach nearly 500 feet high, which makes them more efficient. Their height allows them to take advantage of greater wind speeds and produce more energy per turbine. Saratoga is capable of generating enough emissions-free energy to power approximately 47,000 households. Visit MGE's renewable energy channel, Green View, for a look inside one of Saratoga's wind turbines.
Deep decarbonization: 80% by 2050
Under its Energy 2030 framework, MGE has pledged to supply 30% of electric sales with renewable resources by 2030. MGE also is on a trajectory to reduce carbon emissions at least 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. This is consistent with the U.S. emissions targets for the 2030 timeframe established under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Beyond 2030, MGE is targeting at least an 80% reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. This also is an internationally recognized benchmark.
"We have said since establishing these goals that if we can go further faster by working with our customers, we will," Keebler said.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.