Many Voices, Shared Goals

Input from MGE's Community Energy Workshop will be put to further use as we work together toward Energy 2030 for our community's energy future.

Back in April, a remarkable event took place. About 200 community members and leaders from a cross section of our community came together to talk about their energy future.

working working together illustration

They asked questions, shared observations, offered ideas and guidance for MGE. Their generosity of time, energy and effort left us with more than two thousand comments. The robust data set will help to guide MGE as we work with our customers toward Energy 2030 and toward our shared goals as a community.

Energy 2030 is our long-term framework. We call it a framework because it will be built out over time, and customer guidance, input and participation will continue to be important.

Since our Community Energy Workshop, we have been thoroughly reviewing all the input we received from participants. Our analysis will help us move forward as a community energy company that continues to be responsive to the needs, values and priorities of our community. To that end, we're sharing the broad themes that surfaced in the comments offered by workshop participants.

In the coming weeks and months, we'll be posting more about what we learned. We'll also be working to further identify how we can work together with our customers to better address some of the opportunities, ideas, questions and challenges shared with us throughout our engagement process.

This is part of how many voices help to inform our collective energy future.

So what did we hear? Below is a very brief snapshot. For the full analysis, visit mge.com/WorkshopReport.

Energy 2030

Workshop participants expressed a curiosity to know more about Energy 2030, MGE's long-term framework, and how we will meet the goals and objectives within it. Some expressed concern about going too slowly or too quickly to fulfill it, and how changes may impact certain customers. Others also felt it was important to mark progress over time.

Role of MGE

Participants acknowledged MGE's established record as a community leader and partner and advocated for continued collaboration throughout the community. Participants expect MGE to continue to be an active contributor to the community, our quality of life and positive change. Some also said they desire a greater role for MGE in terms of environmental issues and energy policy.

Economics of Energy

Economics was a topic of heavy interest, with significant input related to balancing the needs of all customers, shareholders, and stakeholders with a wide variety of interests. Some of that input included the importance of making cleaner technologies or new technologies to save energy accessible for low-income customers. Other input reflected interest in more incentives for customers to conserve energy, and tools and education to help them save energy.

New Products and Services

With technology advancing rapidly, the Workshop's discussion session related to new products and services generated considerable feedback from customers who are enthusiastic about the future but who also want to ensure new technologies benefit all customers. Participants indicated that smart technologies should be used to increase conservation and advance sustainability efforts. Transportation also surfaced as an issue with participants suggesting MGE explore ways to address it, perhaps through further support for or partnerships around electric vehicles.

Energy Resources

Comments related to MGE's energy supply mix ranged from support for more renewables to grid security and reliability, especially for critical services such as hospitals. Some participants expressed interest in growing MGE's renewable resources (solar and wind) or diversifying further with nuclear energy and other options. With concerns about the cost impacts of cleaner energy technologies, participants expressed interest in MGE further exploring partnerships to advance these technologies and make them more affordable.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Participants recognized the need to work together to better manage individual and collective energy use, including through partnerships, education and communication, and incentives for conservation. Two areas of interest included further working with the construction industry and multifamily stakeholders to ensure more energy-efficient buildings in the future and to educate landlords, tenants and others to make informed choices surrounding energy.

Communication

Communication surfaced as a major topic, with emphasis on education for customers. Participants also said communication should be targeted to be most effective, for example, to our youth. Participants reminded MGE to be mindful of the diverse needs of the community to ensure educational resources are designed for all audiences. Energy efficiency and conservation were top themes with participants noting that customers need to understand how they can contribute to fulfilling shared goals.

Community Engagement and Partnerships

Authenticity, transparency, accountability and two-way communication all emerged as key factors for successful, ongoing community engagement. Participants recommended MGE partner with a variety of stakeholders to ensure broad and diverse engagement that "meets people where they are." Participants acknowledged MGE's deep roots in investing in the community and offered further guidance to build upon the company's history of advancing meaningful work and shared interests with community partners.

Equity and Diversity

Participants reminded MGE to consider the impact on and needs of diverse populations when making decisions. As a community energy company, MGE operates as more than a utility services provider, participants recognized. They made recommendations for expanding MGE's role related to equity and diversity efforts communitywide and increasing MGE's outreach to different communities. They also offered guidance related to MGE's role as a local employer and bolstering internal diversity. Participants also encouraged MGE to think about how Energy 2030 might impact certain populations to ensure their needs are addressed.

For more information about our Community Energy Workshop, visit mge.com/Workshop.

published: 11-03-2016