Southern Company expects to achieve interim greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction goal significantly ahead of schedule
Emissions down 52 percent since 2007 as system works toward net zero GHG emissions future
ATLANTA, April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2020, the Southern Company system reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 52% from its 2007 benchmark levels, exceeding its 2030 goal to reduce GHG emissions by 50%. The intermediate 2030 goal is part of the system's target to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
While emissions reductions may fluctuate around 50 percent the next few years depending on demand, weather and other factors, the system expects to sustainably achieve 50% reduction or greater by 2025, if not sooner.
"We have made significant progress in reducing the emissions profile of our system's electric generation fleet," said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company. "We will continue working toward a net zero GHG future while meeting the needs of our customers, employees, communities and investors."
Southern Company's reduced GHG emissions are indicative of the accelerating pace of decarbonization across the system. In 2018, GHG emissions were 35% below 2007 levels and further improved to a 44% reduction in 2019. The 52% reduction in 2020 reflects lower utilization of the system's coal generating fleet partially influenced by lower demand due to mild weather and the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2020, coal decreased to 17% of the system's annual energy supply, while renewables grew to 15%. This compares to 69% coal and 1% renewables in 2007. When aggregating both renewables and nuclear, nearly one-third of the system's energy supply came from zero carbon resources in 2020.
"This is about more than decarbonization. We have committed to both our intermediate and net zero GHG goals without any state of federal mandates. We pursue these goals because they are good for the customers and the communities we are privileged to serve," Fanning said.
Southern Company's approach to net zero is driven by thoughtful scenario and long-term planning as well as constructive regulatory decision-making. Looking ahead, Southern Company will continue to use a portfolio approach as the system decarbonizes. Those elements are expected to include continued coal transition, utilization of natural gas to enable fleet transition, further growth in the system's portfolio of zero-carbon resources, negative carbon solutions, enhanced energy efficiency initiatives and continued investment in R&D focused on clean energy technologies.
About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes and the Women's Choice Award. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.
A note about renewable generation
With respect to certain renewable generation and associated renewable energy credits (RECs), to the extent an affiliate of Southern has the right to the RECs associated with renewable energy it generates or purchases, it retains the right to sell the energy and RECs, either bundled or separately, to retail customers and third parties.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning future emissions reduction goals. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; available sources and costs of natural gas and other fuels; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction, and operation of facilities or other projects; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses, to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; advances in technology, including the pace and extent of development of low- to no-carbon energy technologies and negative carbon concepts; performance of counterparties under ongoing renewable energy partnerships and development agreements; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations; and the ability to successfully operate the electric utilities' generating, transmission, and distribution facilities and Southern Company Gas' natural gas distribution and storage facilities and the successful performance of necessary corporate functions. Southern Company and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward–looking information.
SOURCE Southern Company
For further information: Southern Company Media Relations, 404-506-5333 or 1-866-506-5333, www.southerncompany.com