Generations 2012 Annual Report
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Innovation Video 1

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Innovation Video 2

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In 1954, a Southern Company engineer named Donald Early tackled a problem: How to
calculate the most economic electric generation to dispatch to customers at a given moment in time. Early’s solution was an entirely new device, known as the “Early Bird,” that quickly captured the attention of utilities from around the world. The newfangled contraption saved money for customers and set a new standard of efficiency for power generation networks.

Early is part of a proud Southern Company traditionmen and women who overcome
challenges by thinking in new and different ways. Our employees helped develop the

lightning arrester and the unit substation; invented transmission clamps that enable crews to work on energized power lines; and pioneered backwater suppression systems that help hydro dams operate more efficiently.

Throughout the decades, Southern Company has invented, designed and engineered its way past the obstacles it faced. And beginning in the late 1960s, we turned our attention to an issue of growing public concernthe environmental impact of power plant emissions.

Vision

In the late 1960s, Americans became increasingly concerned about the impact of industrial processes on the environment. Included in this debate was the question of power plant emissions.

As usual, Southern Company acted quickly, establishing a comprehensive environmental research and development organization. Right away, the team started focusing on the main issue: How to derive the maximum amount of fuel from coal while reducing the level of byproducts it leaves behind.

One possible solution was to develop a method for transforming the substance into liquid form and reducing the sulfur content. That effort started researchers down a path that would one day lead to the next revolutionary step in coal technologythe efficient conversion of coal into gas.

Today, that processcalled Transport Integrated Gasification, or TRIG™is scheduled to make its U.S. debut in 2014 at Mississippi Power’s new coal-fired facility in Kemper County, Miss. The new plant is expected to operate with a carbon footprint comparable to a similarly sized natural gas plant and capture at least 65 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions.

Meanwhile, our system is increasing its use of other fuels, including natural gas and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. And we continue to reduce traditional coal-fired emissionsmore than 70 percent since 1990, with an investment of more than $8 billion.

PICTURED: Randall Rush, general manager of gasification technology, has been an integral part of Southern Company’s R&D effort since the 1970s. His work helped lead to the development of the revolutionary TRIG™ coal gasification process. Southern Power Senior Engineer Adrienne Newton, meanwhile, is working on renewable energy projects such as the new biomass plant in Nacogdoches, Tex., and various solar projects across the country.

Vision

For nearly 40 years, Southern Company has been helping customers learn better and more efficient ways to use energy. Today, we’re reaching out in new and different waysthrough social media, for instancewith ideas and suggestions for increasing the value of our product to those it serves.

Along the way, we’ve reduced peak demand by more than 3,900 megawatts through formal energy-efficiency programsand we’ve committed to reducing another 1,000 megawatts between 2010 and 2020, at a projected cost of $1 billion. In 2012, we conducted more than 128,000 energy audits for homes and businesses in our service territoriesa longstanding

practice that’s helped us reduce overall demand by more than 1.6 billion kilowatt-hours since 2000.

We’re also leveraging technology to make our transmission and distribution systems more efficientinstalling “smart” devices that help speed information to system operators and reduce response times when outages occur. Systems like this improve reliability, and can even prevent outages from happening in the first place. Meanwhile, 4.4 million new smart meters are helping customers use energy more wisely.

PICTURED: Rosa Marroquin, advanced metering infrastructure data analyst, is helping to bring smart technology to Southern Company’s power grid. Energy Efficiency Manager Dean Harless, a veteran of the company’s demand-side initiatives, is teaming with Energy Efficiency Support Representative Maggie Grant and hundreds of other employees to educate customers on better ways to use energy.

1916-30

LEADING IN TECHNOLOGY

Southern Company engineers are behind many of the earliest innovations in power delivery systemsincluding the development of the lightning arrester, the transmission clamp and the unit substation.

1920s

THURLOW’S INSPIRATION

Oscar Thurlow, an Alabama Power engineer, invents the Thurlow Backwater Suppressor, which sweeps hydro dam backwater away from the discharge opening and enables the plant to operate more efficiently.

1954

EARLY’S BIRD TAKES OFF

Donald Early develops a computerized system for calculating the economics of electric generation and factoring that information into the dispatching of capacity. His device, known as the “Early Bird,” becomes world-renowned for its usefulness and ingenuity.

1969

THE START OF SOMETHING BIG

Dr. William Harrison, formerly dean of research at Virginia Tech, creates Southern Company’s first R&D organization. Harrison and his staff are soon tackling environmental issues, improving generator efficiency and developing a revolutionary process for purifying coal before it is burned.

1973

FIRST SCRUBBER RESEARCH

Harrison’s team conducts its first work on the use of “scrubbers” to remove sulfur dioxide from coal-fired emissions. Later in the decade, they will begin testing methods for reducing nitrogen oxides and improving the collection of fly ash.

1970s

TRANSFORMING COAL

At a Southern Company system research facility just outside Birmingham, Ala., the largest synthetic fuel research project in the country seeks to turn coal into a liquid form. Later, the team will successfully develop a process for converting it into a gas.

1982

SOLAR ENERGY IN THE SOUTH

Georgia Power becomes a partner with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the Shenandoah solar project near Newnan, Ga. At the time, it is the world’s largest commercial solar energy installation.

1996

A VALUED PARTNER

Southern Company joins with DOE to establish the Power Systems Development Facility in Wilsonville, Ala. The new laboratory would emerge as the nation’s leading research center for advancing clean coal technologies.

2008

21ST CENTURY COAL

The Southern Company system, in partnership with DOE, introduces Transport Integrated Gasification, or TRIG™. The process can enable a coal-fired power plant to operate with carbon emissions comparable to a similarly sized natural gas-fired plant.

2012

THE ROAD FORWARD

Southern Company researchers continue to look for ways to further reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and particulate matter from coal-fired emissions. Meanwhile, the system is expanding its use of natural gas and renewables such as wind, solar and biomass.

1975

EFFICIENCY MAKES GOOD CENTS

In response to a national energy crisis, Southern Company’s operating subsidiaries begin offering advice to customers on how to make better use of the electricity they consume. The new programs, offered under the GoodCents brand, are an immediate hit.

1977

SOLAR-POWERED SOLUTIONS

Georgia Power constructs test houses to study solar-assisted water and space heating and other new energy-efficient features.

1982

ON THE RADAR

A new computerized radar network is developed that helps company engineers track major storms and prepare their line crews for widespread outages.

1990s

INCENTIVES SWEETEN THE POT

Utilities, including Southern Company’s operating subsidiaries, begin offering cash incentives to customers who choose to use energy more efficiently by buying efficient appliances and heating and cooling systems. The incentives are encouraged by state regulators as a way to help manage energy demand.

1992

RATES SHIFT USAGE

With peak demand reaching all-time highs, special rates are introduced to spread usage more evenly across each 24-hour period. Included are “time of use” rates that encourage customers to shift their usage to off-peak hours, such as nights and weekends.

2012

SMART GRID ARRIVES

Southern Company’s operating subsidiaries complete more than 4.4 million smart meter installations. The devices will help customers better manage their energy use. Meanwhile, smart technology is installed on power lines, enabling system operators to respond more quickly to outages.