Southern Company & Department of Energy Partnerships
Southern Company has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Energy over the past four decades on a wide variety of projects, including transmission and distribution infrastructure and smart grid initiatives, environmental research programs and nuclear generation. The total DOE funding for our initiatives is approximately $4.9 billion.
- Conditional commitment for loan guarantees for approximately $3.4 billion, or 70 percent of the eligible costs for Vogtle units 3 and 4.
Research & Development (since the 1960s)
- Awarded more than $1.3 billion to conduct more than $3.8 billion of research and development.
- Qualified for $412 million of investment tax credits for a 21st century coal plant being built in Mississippi.
National Carbon Capture Center
- Southern Company manages and operates the DOE's National Carbon Capture Center, a focal point of national efforts to develop advanced technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-based power generation.
- The center, located in Alabama, works with scientists and technology developers from government, industry and universities who are creating the next generation of carbon capture technologies.
TRIG 21st Century Coal Technology
- Over the past decade, Southern Company, with the DOE and other partners, has been developing cleaner, less expensive, more reliable methods for producing electricity with coal.
- Rather than burning coal directly to make electricity, we're breaking coal down into chemical components. Impurities can be removed from the coal before it is fired, avoiding some emissions. Gases that result from this chemical breakdown can fuel integrated gasification combined cycle power plants, which are more efficient and therefore cleaner than traditional coal plants.
- We've taken gasification one step further with a process called Transport Integrated Gasification, or TRIG. TRIG uses air rather than pure oxygen — and lower-grade sub-bituminous and lignite coals — to more affordably gasify the coal.
- TRIG and other technologies developed at the National Carbon Capture Center will also make carbon dioxide capture and geological storage more economical than capture and storage at existing coal-fueled plants.
- Our TRIG technology will be used in our 582-megawatt gasification plant, in Kemper County, Miss.
Carbon Capture & Storage
Plant Barry in Alabama is a start-to-finish carbon capture and storage. The facility is the largest in the world to be connected to a pulverized coal-fired generating plant. Alabama Power and Southern Company, along with DOE, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the Electric Power Research Institute and other partners built the project.
Southern Company is also a participant in a DOE funded research project to study the injection of carbon dioxide, or CO2, into an unmineable coal seam. This is part of a process frequently referred to as "carbon capture and storage." Underground injection of CO2 has long been used for purposes such as enhanced oil recovery and enhanced gas recovery. Alabama Power's Plant Gorgas is host to a carbon sequestration project in partnership with the University of Alabama.