Diversifying Fuel Options
Electricity is not stored. Fuel is converted to electrical energy as it is needed, adjusted minute by minute throughout the day. We maintain adequate fuel supplies — including uranium, coal, natural gas and oil — and utilize renewable energy sources like solar, wind, biomass and hydro — to ensure reliable and affordable electricity generation. See Generation Sources »
Reliability and Affordability
Generating units fueled by coal, natural gas and uranium are dispatchable, available anytime. Use of these abundant fuels provides reliable electricity and represent the bulk of our generation capacity.
To ensure affordable generation, we use a mix of fuels. Price increases in any one fuel can be buffered by alternate fuel choices. Contracts for these fuels also can be secured in advance to avoid supply-constrained price increases in spot markets.
Coal is used to generate much of the nation's electricity supply. To keep this essential and abundant national resource viable, we are working to advance clean coal technologies and lower emissions. Due to its lower-emissions performance, we also use natural gas. In fact, in 2012 and 2013, we generated more electricity from natural gas than coal, a first in our company's history.
Nuclear power supplies about 16 percent of the Southern Company system's generation. Georgia Power has received a Combined Construction and Operating License to construct two additional units at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. The company is currently in the construction phase. More on nuclear power »
We support practical solar, wind, biomass, landfill and hydro generation options for production of electricity. Renewable generation, while initially limited, will play an increasingly important role in the system's generation portfolio as the economics continue to improve. Southern Company, through its Southern Power subsidiary, is partnering with Turner Renewable Energy on more than 240 MW of solar power facilities in New Mexico, California, Nevada and North Carolina; our Georgia Power subsidiary is pursuing the nation's largest voluntary solar energy program; we partnered with Georgia Tech on an extensive study of offshore wind potential in the Southeast; and we operate a 100-megawatt (MW) biomass plant in Sacul, Texas. In addition, we have recently transacted on hundreds of MWs of wind, landfill gas and biomass projects. More on renewables »