Producing electricity can be a dirty business but for those wondering ‘is Southern Company eco-friendly,’ the company has demonstrated its commitment to finding and funding clean energy solutions.

The Atlanta-based company has invested more than $500 million into research and development in the last decade to find ways to improve the creation, delivery and use of electricity.

There are several initiatives underway aimed at producing renewable energy.

According to its website, Southern Company is researching its options for increasing the use of biomass at some of its fossil fuel plants.

One plant has been doing just that for the last nine years. At the Plant Gadsden, owned by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power, they mix in grass fuel materials with coal along with co-milling wood fuel in various forms including wood chips and sawdust.

One of Southern Company’s subsidiaries, Georgia Power, plans to convert a coal-based power plant in Albany, Ga., into a biomass plant.

In Texas, Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power has begun construction on a 100-megawatt biomass plant. Once completed, it will be one of the largest in the United States.

The most ambitious solar project Southern Company is undertaking is the solar facility being built in Cimarron, New Mexico.

This solar project, for which Southern partnered with Ted Turner’s Turner Renewable Energy, will consist of 500,000 2-by-4-feet photovoltaic modules capable of producing 30 megawatts of electricity. That amount can provide power for 9,000 homes.

In addition to the Cimarron project, Southern Company subsidiaries Georgia Power and Alabama Power have several smaller projects throughout the southeastern United States.

For wind power, the Southern Company began a research project with Georgia Tech to assess the potential for generating electricity off the coast of the southeastern United States.

In addition, the company has begun the process of installing meteorological towers off the Georgia coast to study the potential for producing wind-generated electricity there.

Another form of green energy offered by Southern Company is electricity from landfill gas. Subsidiary Gulf Power owns and operates a plant in Escambia, Fla., that can create 3,200-kilowatts of electricity from landfill gas. That amount is enough to power 900 homes.

Hydroelectric power, while not a high-growth source of renewable energy, still produces up to five percent of the company’s total electricity output.

The future should bring even more renewable energy projects. In fact, Southern Company has committed to increasing its investment in energy efficiency programs to more than $1 billion by 2020.

What do you think? Do these initiatives answer the question ‘is Southern Company eco-friendly?’ Leave us a note in the comments below.

Editor's note: Southern Company is a sponsor of Mother Nature Network.

See also:

Southern Company and the environment