Research & Development
We fully recognize the power and significance of our investments for our customers and our state. It takes years to plan and construct generation capacity for the more than 1.4 million customers we serve every day. We do not want to make premature investments in unproven technologies. When we do invest in new generation strategies, we want to choose our partners and our projects very carefully. To make sure we do, we are preparing for the future by partnering with various organizations to research and prepare for regulations that may affect our plants.
We are leading the nation in carbon capture research at Plant Barry and Plant Gaston. For more than a decade, we have tested unproven technologies at Plant Barry near Mobile, working with multiple partners to try new products and receiving federal government subsidies to cover some capture costs.
At Plant Gaston near Wilsonville, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Carbon Capture Center is testing the next generation of technologies.
Our water treatment research at plants Barry and Gorgas has received industry recognition. We constructed a pilot project at both plants to treat scrubber waste water using processes similar to natural wetlands, providing a low-maintenance, chemical-free system. These changes create the same reductions, but cost less than previous systems. Partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute, we are sharing what we have learned with the industry.
We continue to look for ways to increase our hydro generation capacity through improved turbine efficiency – producing more energy from the same amount of water – and have increased our hydro capacity by more than 5 percent since 1997.