Alabama Power (AP), a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO), has announced a nearly 30 percent drop in emissions from its power plants in 2012. AP said lower emissions at its power plants last year were the result of a reduction of coal-fired generation, an increase in the use of natural gas, and a number of emission-control investments the company has made.
According to AP, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions were down 30 percent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions 28 percent at its power plants in 2012. Since 1996, SO2 and NOx emissions at APC plants have declined by 76 percent and 78 percent, respectively, the company reported.
"For more than a decade, Alabama Power has met the challenge of complying with increasingly stringent environmental regulations," said Matt Bowden, Alabama Power vice president of Environmental Affairs. "By focusing on cost-effective measures, we've reduced emissions significantly while continuing to meet the needs of our customers for reliable, affordable power."
Coal-fired power plants contributed about 54 percent of APC's total electricity generation during 2012, down from about 77 percent in 1999. Meanwhile, the use of natural gas to fuel APC plants was up last year by 18 percent. Environmental benefits and lower natural gas prices have encouraged the company in broadening its switch from coal to gas.
AP provides electricity to more than 1.4 million customers across Alabama.