Southern Company releases plan on net zero carbon emissions goal

September 21, 2020

Southern Company today released a report on its progress and plans toward the company’s goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The “Implementation and Action Toward Net Zero” report provides further details on the company’s comprehensive strategy to decarbonize the Southern Company system and is an addendum to the company’s 2018 “Planning for a Low-Carbon Future” report.

“I continue to be confident that we are prepared and well-positioned to meet the needs of our customers, employees, communities and investors well into the future and will succeed in this transition,” said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company.

As announced in May, Southern Company has updated its long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal to net zero emissions by 2050. The new language replaces the company’s previous goal of low- to no-carbon emissions by 2050.

“In 2018, we were one of the first U.S. utilities to set bold, industry-leading goals to reduce carbon emissions,” Fanning added. “Since that time, the discourse around decarbonization efforts in the U.S. and beyond has evolved to incorporate concepts related to negative carbon technologies. This report reflects this evolution and shows the significant progress we have made toward our goals and our plan to get to a net zero future.”

In 2018, Southern Company set an intermediate goal of a 50 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels by 2030 for our electric and gas operations. The Southern Company system has made tremendous progress toward this goal, having decreased carbon emissions by 44 percent through 2019. The company now expects to achieve its 50 percent reduction goal well in advance of 2030 and possibly as early as 2025.

To achieve the net zero goal, the company will pursue a diverse energy resource portfolio to include low-carbon and carbon-free resources, negative carbon solutions and energy efficiency resources; continue our industry-leading research and development focusing on technologies that lower GHG emissions; and constructively engage with policymakers, stakeholders, customers and communities to support outcomes that lead to a net zero future.

“While environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have received increasing attention by investors over the past few years, at Southern Company these issues have always received the heightened attention they deserve. For us, focus on ESG issues and their alignment with long-term strategy and value creation is about far more than decarbonization. It goes to putting customers at the center of everything we do, building a sustainable workforce and making sure that the communities we serve are better off because we’re there,” Fanning said. “This approach is embedded in our values and our DNA, and we know that it is the right way to drive long-term performance.”