Pathways to 100% Renewable Madison

Guidehouse provided expert analysis on climate and energy goals for policymakers at the City of Madison, Wisconsin


The City of Madison, Wisconsin, set a goal to achieve 100% renewable energy and zero net carbon emissions for local government operations. Guidehouse was enlisted to help research, analyze, and develop strategies that were compiled into a report to guide the city toward its energy and emissions goals.

Madison required the strategies provided be cost-effective, technically achievable by 2030, within the boundaries of local government operations, and consistent with current state and local policy, they also needed to account for impacts to economic development, public health, and social equity.


Using market forecast reports, Guidehouse advised policy makers and the public about technology opportunities available to them locally. The team engaged public stakeholders, including local investor-owned utilities, the business community, and nonprofit organizations through public meetings, listening sessions, a project website, and an internet survey to solicit ideas on what technologies, stakeholders, and strategies should be considered for the report. After reviewing this information, Guidehouse, with the help of city staff, selected 20 strategies to make city facilities and operations more efficient and cost-effective.

Based on feedback from city staff, Guidehouse developed three timeline scenarios with different timing and cost implications for policy makers to consider. Each option included a detailed technical and financial analysis to compare required capital investment, operating costs or savings, and energy or fuel savings and associated carbon emissions reductions.

Guidehouse’s analysis indicated that a balanced approach of investments in energy efficiency, green and electric transportation strategies, and renewable resources could enable policy makers to achieve their goal by 2030.


In March 2019, the Madison City Council unanimously approved recommendations from the 100% Renewable Madison Report to enable local government operations to meet its energy goals by 2030.

Additionally, Madison’s efforts influenced the greater Madison-area community to pursue their own carbon goals by 2050. The city has done this by working with local area utilities to help decarbonize the electric grid and promote innovative public-private partnerships, including applying for grants for electric vehicles and electric bus transit. Additionally, neighboring cities have taken up similar climate initiatives working frequently with Madison to achieve their goals.

The analysis and recommendations for the City of Madison can be found here

Guidehouse has been instrumental in supporting the City of Madison to achieve our goal of reaching 100% renewable energy and zero net carbon emissions for city operations while leading the greater community. We relied on Guidehouse’s expert analysis to select achievable strategies to meet our energy goals and make a business case that our elected officials would unanimously support. Josh Arnold and the Guidehouse team were with us every step of the way.

Jeanne Hoffman
Facilities and Sustainability Manager
City of Madison, Wisconsin

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