A Dane County judge upheld a state ruling allowing Madison Gas & Electric Co. to build a $180 million natural gas-fired power plant on the University of Wisconsin campus.
Judge Steven Ebert ruled that the state's Public Service Commission acted properly last year in approving the plant, which was opposed by a group of nearby residents.
The plant is under construction and the utility expects to open it next year.
The judge rejected concerns raised by the group, Friends of Responsible Energy, that UW failed to consider alternative ways for the campus to meet its energy needs.
Linda Barth, spokeswoman for the Public Service Commission, said the panel's review of the application for the power plant "was extensive and thorough."
Glenn Stoddard, a lawyer representing the opponents, said the group hasn't decided whether to appeal.
"As a result of the long delay, the plant has largely been built," he said. "This is a case of both justice delayed and justice denied."