The Southern Company met an established goal well ahead of schedule by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 52 percent in 2020 from its 2007 benchmark levels.
The emissions reduction amount exceeded the company’s goal to reduce GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Long-term, the company has a goal to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
“We have made significant progress in reducing the emissions profile of our system’s electric generation fleet,” Tom Fanning, chairman, president, and CEO of Southern Company, said. “We will continue working toward a net zero GHG future while meeting the needs of our customers, employees, communities, and investors.”
The 52 percent reduction in 2020 reflects lower utilization of the company’s coal generating fleet partially influenced by lower demand due to mild weather and the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, coal decreased to 17 percent of the system’s annual energy supply, while renewables grew to 15 percent. In 2007, the system used 69 percent coal and 1 percent renewables. Nuclear and renewables combined represented about one-third of the system’s energy supply in 2020.
“This is about more than decarbonization. We have committed to both our intermediate and net zero GHG goals without any state or federal mandates. We pursue these goals because they are good for the customers and the communities we are privileged to serve,” Fanning said.
Looking ahead, Southern Company will continue to transition from coal, utilize natural gas to enable fleet transition, grow the system’s portfolio of zero-carbon resources, enhance energy efficiency initiatives, and continue to invest in clean energy technologies.