Southern Company’s Approach to Net Zero and the Environment

Mar 29, 2023 11:20 AM ET

Originally published in Southern Company's 2021 Corporate Responsibility Executive Summary Report

Southern Company is proud to support the communities we serve, and we are committed to protecting the environment we all share. We recognize our obligations to:

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Among Industry Leaders in Emissions Reporting 

Southern Company reports all relevant Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions through its annual CDP submission and other company disclosures. Notably, we received limited assurance from Deloitte & Touche, LLP for our 2021 and 2020 Scopes 1 and 2 GHG emissions, and we continued to expand our Scope 3 emissions reporting in 2022. Our enhanced reporting is responsive to feedback received through Southern Company’s robust stakeholder engagement efforts.

Spotlight: GHG Emissions Reductions

Southern Company’s net zero strategy considers both direct and indirect emissions reductions. Drivers for direct emissions reduction include: reduced reliance on coal-fired generating assets, use of natural gas to enable the low-carbon energy transition, further growth in our portfolio of zero-carbon resources, enhanced energy efficiency initiatives, negative carbon solutions and continued investment in research and development (R&D) of clean energy technologies. While our net zero goal is focused on direct emissions, we are also committed to reducing emissions across our full value chain through engagement, energy efficiency measures and partnerships with customers, suppliers and other organizations.

As we transition to net zero, we believe having a diversified energy portfolio is crucial to reducing emissions while maintaining reliability and affordability for our customers. Since 2007, we have significantly reduced our reliance on coal-fired generation, meaningfully increased generation from zero-carbon resources and made strategic decisions around our use of natural gas.

Southern Company continues to reduce the number of generating units in our coal fleet, lowering emissions and retiring uneconomic resources. We have proposed to have just eight coal units remaining in our generating fleet with a nameplate capacity of less than 4,500 MWs by the end of 2028, and we expect to further reduce our coal fleet in the 2030s, pending regulatory approval. In July 2022, Georgia Power received approval of its 2022 Integrated Resource Plan that includes a transformation of Georgia’s energy resources, growing renewable resources, investments in reliability and resilience and diverse, flexible customer programs.

Importantly, we continue to emphasize the well-being of our employees and communities by focusing on a Just Transition as we seek to make significant changes to our generating mix in a relatively short timeframe. In early 2022, Southern Company published a set of Just Transition Principles that aim to foster:

  • Strong governance
  • Effective stakeholder engagement and transparent communication
  • Employee support and coordination with labor unions
  • Ongoing community and environmental commitment
  • Continued safety, reliability, resilience and affordability

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