We are meeting our challenge to serve the ever-growing need for electricity while continuing to minimize the impact of electricity production on the environment. We've managed more than $900 million in research and development over the past decade, seeking innovative ways to improve the generation, delivery and use of electricity.
Additionally, we foster collaborative partnerships and volunteer organizations to conserve habitat, protect wildlife, recycle materials, provide recreation and remove trash. We work at all levels, from field offices and power plants up through corporate channels at each of our subsidiaries, on a variety of conservation projects. More in social responsibility.
We review our environmental compliance strategy regularly to ensure planned controls and budgets will meet existing and emerging laws and rules, taking into account fuel prices and availability, unit characteristics, and financial impacts. We use our Environmental Management System —formalized in the 1990s with elements from management programs developed by national and international regulatory and standard-making organizations—to stay in compliance with regulations and direct voluntary environmental efforts.
We monitor and assess the environmental impact of our operations to improve our performance. We continually seek opportunities to prevent pollution and conserve natural resources in balance with maintaining reliability and low-cost service to our customers. Southern Company businesses comply with numerous regulations governing its air emissions, including State Implementation Plans developed to ensure compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards; regulations requiring improvements in visibility; as well as the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 and other emerging regulations.
Top Environmental Challenges Facing Southern Company
- Identifying and developing cost-effective ways to comply with carbon dioxide-related regulations
- Maximizing efficient use of water
- Implementing cost-effective solutions to further reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury emissions
- Expanding reuse and recycling of byproducts and materials
Stakeholder View: Environmental Challenges
"We believe climate change issues are critical to our planet, and we believe there are going to be financial risks that are going to be quantifiable."
Sister Barbara Aires, Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, addressing Southern Company on how climate change regulations will affect the company.