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."
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:
For more about these initiatives, please see our Implementation and Action Toward Net Zero report.
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2018 and 2020, Southern Company thermoelectric plant operations returned 92% of the 2.6 billion gallons of water withdrawn daily back to its source.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.
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.