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Additional Environmental Priorities

Sustainable Transportation Solutions

We are dedicated to bringing sustainable energy to transportation, both on and off the road, through electric and alternative fuel solutions. 

We have three key roles to play in decarbonizing the transportation sector within our footprint: 

  • Decarbonize our company-owned fleet of vehicles

  • Work with policymakers, partners and peer utilities to build a robust charging network 

  • Invest in research and development for both on-road and non-road transportation solutions

"Electricity powers nearly every aspect of our lives, and we're bringing that sustainable energy to transportation. Electric vehicles are better for the environment, have a lower total cost of operation than gasoline or diesel vehicles, promote local jobs and are fun to drive."

Lincoln Wood
Electrification Manager
Southern Company

plug icon Fleet Electrification Goals

We plan to convert 50% of our electric companies’ fleet vehicles in the auto/SUV/minivan, forklift and ATV/cart/miscellaneous equipment segments, or “light-duty” vehicles, to electric by 2030. In an effort to optimize the financial impact of transitioning the fleet to our customers, we plan to achieve this goal through the annual fleet attrition process. Each year, selected retiring internal combustion engine fleet assets will be replaced with the appropriate clean fuel alternative. We are excited to evaluate the alternatives in the markets and bring the right new technologies into the Southern Company fleet of safe and reliable equipment. 

charging station icon Robust Charging Infrastructure

Externally, Southern Company is working with stakeholders to facilitate the construction of charging infrastructure in our service territories. Our operating companies, Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power, help drivers and businesses access efficient and reliable electric vehicle (EV) charging options within the system's service territory. Preparing to meet this need is the result of years of work. 

For the past eight years, Georgia Power has strategically mapped and implemented direct current (DC) fast chargers based on guidance from the Federal Highway Administration. Working with the Georgia Public Service Commission, the company has installed 50 DC fast chargers statewide and is investing $6 million over three years in fast-charging infrastructure.

Alabama Power is partnering with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to increase residential and commercial EV range confidence. Mississippi Power also has several initiatives in place, including partnering with the Coast Transit Authority to bring the first all-electric transit bus to the state of Mississippi later this year and expanding availability of public EV chargers across the state.

We also offer various programs at our utilities including special EV charging rates, rebates for the installation of EV charging stations and information on locating public charging facilities.  

We recognize that the need to charge EVs does not stop at the border of a single state. Southern Company subsidiaries participate in the National Electric Highway Coalition, an initiative aiming to bring utilities from across the country together to collaborate on a network of DC fast chargers along major U.S. travel corridors. This collaboration represents an unprecedented, combined effort to offer EV drivers convenient charging across different utility footprints while allowing uninterrupted travel and alleviating range anxiety. Sites along major highways with easy access and amenities for travelers are being considered as coalition members work to determine final charging station locations. DC fast chargers can get drivers back on the road in approximately 20-30 minutes.

EV National Electric Highway Coalition Members Map

truck icon Investing in Transportation Innovation

Southern Company is actively involved in R&D for both on-road and non-road electric and alternative fuel transportation, and we work closely with partners to bring clean transportation investment to our regions.

We work with national research organizations, vehicle manufacturers, charging companies, universities and other utilities to produce and test the next generation of electric vehicles. We are testing Smart Charging strategies to maximize the number of vehicles that can be charged with our current energy capacities. We are also working with university labs to test new technologies that may maximize range from battery packs and wireless charging equipment that can charge vehicles with no cord and, one day, potentially charge your EV while you drive.

Our natural gas subsidiaries have also been actively working to reduce vehicle emissions. In the 1970s, Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) began converting its own fleet to run on clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). Later in the 1990s, AGL started a program to build stations for our customers, including the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which began purchasing buses that run on CNG. MARTA now has three CNG stations and about 370 CNG buses — saving millions in fuel costs, displacing millions of gallons of diesel each year and reducing emissions by millions of pounds of pollutants. Since 2012, AGL has built $30 million worth of public and private CNG fueling stations for customers in Georgia. 

On the non-road side, we work closely with customers to implement electric transportation solutions within their companies and to evaluate the cost savings related to those technologies. We are currently testing a prototype battery unit on trucks within our fleet. This unit is designed to power trucks at customer sites with electricity stored in a battery instead of running truck engines. This will reduce fleet emissions, reduce noise at work sites and save money on vehicle maintenance. 

Southern Company has also been deeply engaged in bringing clean energy transportation businesses to our service territories. For example, Georgia Power continues to support the State of Georgia in proactive efforts to attract multibillion-dollar companies involved in the production, recycling, and development of the auto manufacturing industry and EV supply chain. 

  • SK Innovations, a Korean-based manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries, is locating a $2.6 billion facility in Georgia that is expected to employ thousands and produce enough batteries for 200,000 electric vehicles annually. 

  • In December 2021, Rivian, an electric sport utility vehicle and pickup company, announced plans to construct a plant for vehicle and battery operations in Georgia. The project is expected to bring 7,500 jobs and a $5 billion investment to the state. 

  • Georgia Power recently partnered with the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering to create an e-Mobility Certificate program. With elements of engineering, public policy, public health and business acumen, this new program will prepare Georgia’s workforce for an electrified transportation future. The company is also working closely with design students at Georgia Tech to evaluate the environmental benefits and future workforce opportunities of transportation electrification. 

To read more about our efforts related to electric vehicles, visit our Innovation page, and to learn more about our CNG efforts visit Southern Company Gas’ Sustainability site. 

Alternative Fuels

Southern Company and our operating companies are focused on developing alternative fuels and alternative energy carriers to complement our electric and natural gas utilities. We are leveraging our natural gas infrastructure to build public and private compressed natural gas fueling stations that can help to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles when compared to gasoline or diesel fuels. Additionally, through partnerships with organizations like the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI), we have been advancing alternative energy carriers, including:

  • Renewable natural gas (RNG): RNG is produced from existing waste streams such as animal waste, wastewater treatment plants, landfills and food waste, among others. Integrating RNG into existing natural gas supply chains can reduce sector-wide GHG emissions and can decarbonize other sectors, such as agriculture, through avoided emissions.
  • Power-to-gas: Power-to-gas technology can use renewable electricity to create RNG that can be transported in existing natural gas pipelines. These technologies can work in concert with renewable electricity (i.e., solar and wind) to provide energy storage, transportation and utilization solutions.
  • Hydrogen: Hydrogen is a storable gas with high energy density and zero CO2 emissions at the point of use, which makes it useful in this area. Blue and green hydrogen can be produced in a variety of low- or no-carbon methods, including: steam methane reforming carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS); electrolysis from renewable or nuclear energy; and thermochemical water splitting from high-temperature heat.

For more about these initiatives, please see our Implementation and Action Toward Net Zero report.

Air, Water and Waste Management

Our environmental priorities extend beyond GHG emissions to promote healthy air quality, responsible water use and effective waste management. 

Southern Company has actively reduced air emissions through the installation of emission controls and fuel switching technologies.

Water is an important resource in Southern Company’s operations, and we remain committed to responsible water usage. According to the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, none of our steam electric generating facilities are located in high water stress designated areas. Nevertheless, we recognize the importance of reducing our impact on water resources wherever possible. We are leveraging and exploring emerging technologies to address short- and long-term solutions for issues related to the water-energy nexus. Between 2018 and 2020, Southern Company thermoelectric plant operations returned 92% of the 2.6 billion gallons of water withdrawn daily back to its source. During this same period, surface water withdrawals were also reduced by more than 30%.

Southern Company operates rigorous waste management programs focused on continuous improvement with the goal to safely and effectively manage power generation waste such as coal ash. For example, we have a long history of beneficial use of coal combustion residuals (CCRs), and in 2019, we stopped sending coal ash to unlined ash ponds. In addition, we adhere to state and federal guidelines regarding the on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel, in compliance with operating licenses. Southern Company, when practicable, also uses measures like replacing everyday materials with safer options, such as non-chlorinated cleaners and water-based paints in routine electric utility work, to reduce hazardous waste. 

Stewardship

Southern Company’s focus on natural resource stewardship is engrained into our identity; after all, we live and work in the communities we serve. We partner with communities, conservation organizations and natural resources agencies to help threatened and vulnerable species, restore natural resources, revive landscapes and increase environmental awareness. Using natural resources wisely is vital to meeting our customers’ needs and protecting those resources for future generations. We also amplify our efforts to conserve and recover species and their habitats through strategic, high-value collaborations.

One such collaboration is our conservation partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) that began over 18 years ago. Shortly after its inception, the partnership grew into a portfolio of efforts to address critical conservation needs, including recovery of imperiled species and community-based stewardship of forests, rivers, coastal areas and wetlands. Together, this successful alliance has supported hundreds of projects and invested more than $21 million in grants with a total on the ground conservation impact valued at over $180 million, restoring and enhancing over 1.9 million acres.

Other notable stewardship successes include executing a discounted sale and transfer of 2,409 acres of critically endangered species habitat in southeast Georgia to the Open Space Institute and investing over $8.7 million into projects that will restore more than 87,000 acres of longleaf pine forest and the native species that rely on it.

For more about these initiatives, please visit our Environmental Stewardship page.