ATLANTA, May 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today moved to a long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The company also reaffirmed its intermediate goal of a 50 percent reduction of GHG emissions from 2007 levels by 2030. These are enterprise-wide goals across all electric and gas operations. Today's action, announced during the 2020 Southern Company Annual Meeting of Stockholders, replaces the low- to no-carbon goal the company unveiled in April of 2018.
Driven primarily by low natural gas prices, and through our regulators, Southern Company has seen a rapid transition of its system's generation fleet. The Southern Company system's carbon emissions have decreased by 44 percent through 2019, and the company now expects to achieve the 50 percent reduction goal well in advance of 2030, and possibly as early as 2025. The company remains a leader in formulating and implementing a comprehensive strategy to reduce GHG emissions and will offer further detail on its progress in a report to be issued later this year.
"I continue to be confident that we are prepared and well-positioned to meet the needs of our customers, employees, communities and investors well into the future and will succeed in the transition to a net-zero carbon future," said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. "As always, we are committed to providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to the customers we are privileged to serve."
To achieve the net-zero goal, the company will continue to reduce GHG emissions and continue our long-term commitment to energy efficiency, but also incorporate negative carbon solutions, including technology-based approaches such as direct air capture of carbon as well as natural methods like afforestation. Since 2018, the interest in decarbonization efforts in the U.S. and beyond – including with Southern Company's board and stakeholders – has evolved to incorporate concepts related to negative carbon solutions.
This long-term, strategic approach is essential to successfully reducing carbon emissions while also maintaining reliability and affordability. The transition of the generation fleet helps ensure energy remains reliable and affordable for customers while also being sensitive to the impact this transition has on communities as well as employees. All of this is executed in the absence of mandates and by constructively engaging with policymakers, regulators, investors, stakeholders and customers to support outcomes that lead to a net-zero carbon future.
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.
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 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, 2019, Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 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; 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.
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SOURCE Southern Company