MADISON – On Thursday, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) finalized and approved the state’s 2026 Strategic Energy Assessment (SEA). Electric providers and transmission owners operating in Wisconsin are required to file specified historical and forecasted data on electric system operations, providing forecasted information from January 1, 2020 through December 21, 2026. A draft of the SEA was made available for comments and suggestions from the public and interested parties in June of 2020.
“The SEA shows the continued reliability and adequacy of Wisconsin’s electric supply, as well as the progress made in emission reductions as the state continues its transition to zero-carbon fuels. This transition is due to sharply declining costs of clean energy as well as the state’s largest utilities’ carbon reduction goals and those outlined in Governor Evers’ Executive Order #38,” said Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Chairperson of the PSC. “I want to thank the public and interested parties for their comments and feedback. Your participation is critical in all we do here at the PSC and this SEA is better for it.”
Some notable takeaways in the 2026 SEA:
- This SEA received unprecedented public participation with 77 written comments filed on this year’s draft, compared to 13 written comments filed for the previous SEA from two years ago.
- Changes from the draft clarify issues on which comments and suggestions were received and provide additional context that many commenters emphasized, particularly in further describing the broader perspective behind efforts to reduce carbon emissions by utilities, and by state and local governments.
- The final SEA also includes updates for important developments since the draft was finalized in spring:
- The closure of the Edgewater Unit 5 coal plant is reflected and the analysis of energy supply and emissions are updated to account for it. Anticipated emissions reductions for 2026 (relative to 2005 levels) increased from 39.8 percent to 44.2 percent.
- The final draft also adds updates to reflect other developments over the summer, including:
- The opening of PSC dockets on securitization and renewable buyback rates;
- The PSC’s recent actions in the electric vehicle investigation;
- Changes to carbon reduction goals announced by three utilities; and
- Findings from the Wisconsin Energy Distribution and Technology Innovation report, which reflects consensus recommendations from a diverse group of stakeholders on key next steps for addressing technological change in the energy industry.
Under Wis. Stat. 196.491(2), the PSC prepares a biennial SEA to evaluate Wisconsin’s current and future electricity supply. To address all aspects of the Commission’s mission to ensure the provision of quality utility services in Wisconsin, this document addresses:
- The adequacy of available supplies to support the generation of electricity, as well as the adequacy of the transmission system to carry electricity supplies from generation sources to customers;
- The reliability of electric system operations to provide consistent service and avoid outages, including through resilience against extreme events that challenge system operations;
- The affordability of customers’ electric rates and bills, as regulated by the Commission’s authority to approve rates set by regulated electric providers; and
- The environmentally responsible provision of electric services, through programs and policies related to energy efficiency, demand response, renewable energy, and electric vehicles; as well as efforts among electric providers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.