Energy Innovation Center

Inventing our future: Southern Company announces new hub to deliver tomorrow's solutions, today

The Southern Company Energy Innovation Center — located in Atlanta's Technology Square — is dedicated to making life easier for customers, so they can focus on the things that are most important to them.

Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning puts it this way: "Our customers are looking for solutions, and they want a partner who can make their lives, their quality of life, better. It is through cutting-edge innovation — solutions that improve our lives every day — that we can create better, more efficient ways to deliver power and help solve some of the challenges our customers face."

Specifically, the Energy Innovation Center looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value for customers through products and services. Many of the ideas being tested in the center come from the Southern Company system's 26,000 employees, while others are surfaced through partnerships with leading universities, research organizations and like-minded companies such as Nest and Tesla.

The center employs a unique staffing philosophy that engages teams of employees and outside experts to work together on an ad hoc basis, attacking the industry's most pressing issues. Included among these are such topics as electric battery storage, electric vehicle technology and infrastructure and finding better ways to use data to help meet customers' needs.

The center is an outgrowth of the company's 2014 SO Prize competition, in which employees submitted nearly 1,000 ideas for improving customer value. Six of those ideas were declared winners of the competition, with more than 100 others being distributed throughout the company for further consideration and possible implementation. Employee ingenuity was on display again during the 2015 SO Safe competition, which yielded nearly 1,000 ideas for making the workplace safer for employees, including power plant workers and line crew members.

Whatever the future holds, the Southern Company Energy Innovation Center is already working on the real-world solutions that will be needed. It's a place where ideas, innovation and investment will meet to create better customer experiences. And it's a perfect complement to the nearly $2 billion investment the Southern Company system has managed in research and development since 1970, helping to improve the ways it produces and delivers electricity to customers.

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