Our New Ventures organization focuses on strategic investing, emerging technology and business model innovation. Not only does this set Southern Company apart from our peers, but it positions us to make a meaningful impact on the future of energy. For example, New Ventures allows us to take an active role in Energy Impact Partners (EIP), a utility-backed venture capital fund dedicated to accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.
Southern Company was a founding member of EIP in 2015 and is now the chair of the fund which currently has over $2 billion in assets under management. EIP conducts extensive research to identify early-stage companies or “startups” developing technology or business model innovations of strategic relevance to the energy and utilities industry, often directly relating to decarbonization opportunities. Through this investment, our New Ventures team and industry peers collaborate with the collective goal of finding solutions to drive new revenue growth, uncover operational efficiencies and meet our customers’ evolving energy needs. In addition, our R&D team is collaborating with Energy Impact Partners’ deep decarbonization working group to research and analyze the landscape of innovative startup companies. EIP has made approximately 60 investments across the energy value chain, resulting in 2.8 million metric tons of CO2e emissions avoided, 253 million gallons of fuel saved and 3.2 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity saved in 2020.
EIP’s Flagship Fund, Fund II, announced in November 2021, received $1 billion in commitments and will focus on investing in venture and growth companies advancing critical climate solutions. Through Fund II, Southern Company will continue working with EIP to identify cutting-edge technologies that advance the zero-carbon economy and address our global decarbonization goals. This includes working with influential companies shaping our sustainable future in innovating across supply decarbonization, electrification, mobility, tech-enabled infrastructure, reliability and resilience, and intelligent demand. Fund II has already made significant investments in more than a dozen promising technology companies that are critical to accelerating the energy transition. EIP looks for inspired entrepreneurs that reimagine the future and helps them scale by leveraging its partner coalition and providing comprehensive ESG and Impact Reporting.
Another innovative business helping to prepare Southern Company and our customers for the future is PowerSecure. PowerSecure, the nation’s leading distributed energy innovation company, has installed, managed and serviced 2+ gigawatts (GW) of microgrid capacity over the past 20 years, as well as implemented over $800 million of energy efficiency upgrades. PowerSecure takes a full-facility, lifecycle approach through production and management, delivering clean and resilient energy to our customers at the best possible value.
An example of this work is PowerSecure’s partnership with PGA TOUR to install sustainable, resilient and reliable microgrid solutions in its new Global Home Headquarters. This system is equipped with a solar complex to reduce energy needs of the headquarters complex and also with backup generation to supply continuous power in the event of a storm or other power loss causing event. Not only does this system help PGA TOUR achieve their sustainability goals, but it also builds a brighter and greener future.
PowerSecure has also supported energy supply on Ocracoke Island, part of North Carolina’s coastal Outer Banks region, with a microgrid. Historically, Ocracoke had relied on a 3 MW diesel generator to provide backup power and peak shaving. However, a mix of warmer temperatures and tourism has recently increased electrical demands and created an unsustainable situation for the island to maintain reliable and affordable power. To remedy this issue, PowerSecure engineered, designed, manufactured and installed a state-of-the-art microgrid solution that successfully provides an economically sound solution that maximizes use of the island’s local resources while simultaneously providing greater reliability and annual cost savings. PowerSecure continues to operate the microgrid in concert with demand management systems to maximize the utilization and benefits of local resources.