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Plant Vogtle and solar panels
Plant Vogtle and solar panels

Energy Mix

Southern Company is the only U.S. energy company developing and innovating around the full portfolio.

Employee Woman Blue Shirt

We have made significant progress in reducing the emissions profile of our system’s electric generation fleet. Today, our system’s energy supply is comprised of 51% natural gas, 17% carbon-free nuclear, 17% coal and 15% renewables; as compared to 2007 when we generated about 16% of electricity from natural gas and 69% from coal. In 2020, nearly one-third of our system’s energy supply came from zero-carbon resources.

Southern Company Generation

* Generally, with respect to renewable energy generated or purchased by the operating companies, the operating companies retain the right to use the renewable energy to serve customers or to sell the energy and associated renewable energy credits (RECs), together or separately, to third parties for the benefit of customers.

Growing Portfolio of Carbon-Free and Carbon-Neutral Energy Sources

Our subsidiaries are focused on strategically increasing the role of renewables in our energy mix. We have numerous R&D projects underway to determine the potential of emerging cost-effective renewable resources and technologies.

Solar

Solar Panel

The Southern Company system is one of the largest owners of solar PV facilities in the U.S., generating electricity that can be used to serve customers or sold to third parties, with or without the associated renewable energy credits (RECs).

Southern Power currently owns or operates more than 2,395 megawatts of solar generating capacity at 28 facilities operating in California, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas. Twenty-six of these facilities are co-owned by third parties, with Southern Power having the majority ownership.

Wind

Southern Power’s wind portfolio consists of more than 2,533 megawatts of wind generation. Southern Power’s wind facilities are a part of the company’s 4,928-MW renewable fleet, which consists of 43 solar and wind facilities operating or under construction.

Alabama Power and Georgia Power have purchased, or plan to buy more than 650 megawatts of wind generation from Oklahoma and Kansas. The companies receive all the renewable energy credits from these projects, which they may use to serve customers with wind energy or sell to third parties for the benefit of customers.

Southern Company has also conducted studies of offshore wind to evaluate the potential for wind generation in the Southeast.

Biomass

Biomass Biomass

Southern Company currently has over 285 megawatts of biomass resources.

A partnership with Westervelt Renewable Energy has provided Alabama Power with 7.5 megawatts of renewable generation capacity from wood byproducts. Alabama Power can sell the renewable energy credits from these facilities to third parties for the benefit of customers.

Georgia Power, through Georgia Power’s Qualifying Facility Proxy methodology Program, has 296 megawatts of biomass online and serving customers.

Landfill Gas

The Southern Company system portfolio currently has over 20 megawatts of landfill gas resources.

Southern Company subsidiaries, both individually and in partnerships, are offering customers a growing amount of renewable energy options, which may be purchased in "blocks" of green energy from qualified sources.

Georgia Power has contracts with landfill gas projects totaling over 40 megawatts.

Hydro

Since its earliest years, the Southern Company system has relied on hydro power to serve customers and communities with one of the cleanest, environmentally safe and affordable sources of renewable energy.

Hydro is the lowest-cost energy source available on the system, in that the “fuel” (water) is free and produces zero emissions. Plus, harnessing the power of falling water is a self-reliant process, not dependent upon other systems or fuel infrastructure.

With 32 hydro generating facilities and a combined nameplate generating capacity of approximately 2,800 megawatts, the system has ranked as high as seventh in the nation for hydro generation.

New Nuclear

Nuclear energy, which currently accounts for about 20 percent of the U.S. energy mix, must continue to be a part of the full portfolio of energy resources. 

Nuclear energy is emission-free, safe and increases America’s fuel diversity using a low-cost, reliable, 24/7, abundant resource.

In 2020, nuclear power supplied about 17 percent of the Southern Company system’s electricity generation from three plants: Vogtle and Hatch in Georgia and Farley in Alabama. Southern Company is committed to the safe operation of its nuclear energy facilities with equipment and systems that meet rigorous Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety and design regulations.

Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4

Nuclear energy is a viable way to meet anticipated new demand for electricity with the added benefit of no greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power is currently developing two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle in Burke County, Georgia. Vogtle units 3 and 4 are on track to be the first new-generation nuclear facility in the nation in 30 years and the first to use the Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor technology.

This technology allows nuclear cores to be cooled even in the absence of operator interventions or mechanical assistance. We believe the AP1000 to be the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available in the worldwide commercial marketplace. 

Upon completion, Georgia Power will own 45.7 percent of the two new 1,100 megawatt reactors. The remaining ownership is split among Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.

Future Nuclear

Southern Company is committed to nuclear energy as an integral component of our full portfolio strategy for power generation. As part of our long-range planning to identify the most cost-effective, reliable and environmentally responsible fuel sources, we continue to evaluate sites within our service territory for potential location of nuclear facilities.

Southern Company is playing an industry-leading role in developing fourth-generation nuclear technology. Our R&D team is collaborating with TerraPower, the U.S. Department of Energy and a number of partners to explore, develop and demonstrate the molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR), a transformational nuclear technology designed to enable low-cost, economywide decarbonization. In 2020, Southern Company was selected to lead a team that will design, construct and operate the molten chloride reactor experiment – a significant step in advancing MCFR technology toward commercialization.