ATLANTA, April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomas A Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company, today spoke to policy makers, regulators and business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "CEO Leadership Series" Luncheon in Washington, D.C.
In his remarks, Fanning addressed the importance of advancing national energy policy and creating jobs noting that good energy policy means "a healthier economy and better prospects for job creation." He also stated that we must focus on the well-being of our customers. Additionally, Fanning stressed that it is the role of Congress to set national energy policy, not the job of the agencies.
In a challenge to business leaders, Fanning stated, "there are many good efforts underway, but we need you to understand what's at stake for the future health of jobs and the economy."
Fanning also discussed what he believes are the two major elements that make up a sensible national energy policy – a full portfolio of energy resources, including 21st Century coal, nuclear, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency and a national, robust research and development effort to create new energy technologies for our future.
We need new nuclear - Southern Company is leading the renaissance of nuclear energy in America by being the first company in 30 years to build new units. The construction of the two new units, located at an existing facility near Augusta, Ga., will create more than 3,000 jobs during construction and 800 permanent jobs.
We must preserve coal - We must place a high priority on developing solutions that preserve this critical energy resource for the future and we must do it in a way that provides a sensible balance of reliability, economic consequence and environmental impact.
We need natural gas but it's not a panacea - While we need natural gas as part of the mix, there are challenges in how we recover gas and it's reasonable to believe the future price of natural gas will remain volatile.
We need renewables, but let's recognize their limitations – Southern Company is building one of the nation's largest biomass plants in Texas and operating the nation's second-largest solar plant in partnership with Ted Turner in New Mexico.
We need to promote energy efficiency – Between now and 2020, the company plans to spend an additional $1 billion on energy efficiency, reducing peak demand by an additional 1,000 megawatts.
Discussing his second major element, Fanning stressed the need for providing a robust capability to pursue technological innovations in energy that will benefit American jobs and the economy. In his remarks, he stated, "as a nation, as an industry, research and development must be a national priority so that we have in place those technologies of tomorrow that we haven't even thought of today."
He also discussed the numerous research and development projects currently under way at Southern Company, including the development of coal gasification technology, which the company is using at a plant under construction in Kemper County, Miss. The plant will create more than 1,000 jobs during construction and 260 permanent jobs when operational in 2014.
Full text of the speech can be accessed at the following link:
With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company was named the World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility by Fortune magazine in 2011, and is consistently listed among the top U.S. electric service providers in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.