Electricity is not stored. Fuel is converted to electrical energy as it is needed, adjusted minute by minute throughout the day. We maintain adequate fuel supplies—including coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables like hydro power and biomass—to ensure reliable and affordable electricity generation.
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Coal, natural gas and uranium are dispatchable fuels, available anytime. These fuels provide reliable electricity and the bulk of our generation capacity.
To ensure affordable generation, we use a mix of fuels. Price spikes in any one fuel can be buffered by alternate fuel choices. Contracts for dispatchable fuels also can be purchased in advance to avoid supply-constrained price spikes in spot markets.
Coal is used to generate about half the nation's supply of electricity and up to two-thirds of electricity in the Southeast. To keep this essential and abundant national resource viable, we are working to advance clean coal technology and lower emissions. For its lower-emissions performance, we also use natural gas; in fact, in 2012, we used more natural gas than coal for the first time in our history.
Nuclear power supplies about 16 percent of Southern Company's generation. Southern Company has received a Combined Construction and Operating License to construct two additional units at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. The company is currently in the construction phase. More on nuclear power »
We support many practical solar, wind, biomass, landfill and hydro options for electricity. Southern Company is partnering with Turner Renewable Energy on 221 MW of solar power facilities in New Mexico, California, Nevada and North Carolina, we partnered with Georgia Tech on an extensive study of offshore wind potential in the Southeast, and we operate a 100-megawatt (MW) biomass plant in Sacul, Texas. More on renewables »