Southern Company honored for energy storage research, including technology deployed at Alabama Power Smart Neighborhood

Southern Company honored for energy storage research, including technology deployed at Alabama Power Smart Neighborhood
Alabama Power's Smart Neighborhood developments played a role in Southern Company winning the Edison Award. (Alabama NewsCenter file)

Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood project in Hoover, with its use of energy storage technology, is helping lead a growing trend to incorporate energy storage into the nation’s electric grid.

Ongoing research into energy storage by Alabama Power and its parent company, Southern Company, and Alabama Power’s sister companies was a key element in Southern Company being awarded the electric utility industry’s most prestigious honor, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Edison Award.

“EEI member companies continue to integrate technologies, such as energy storage, into the energy grid, helping to pave the way for the clean energy future our customers want and deserve,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn.

“Southern Company’s leadership and technical expertise behind the testing, development and deployment of a diverse portfolio of energy storage solutions improves the resiliency and reliability of the grid and also creates tremendous value for customers. Congratulations to the Southern Company team for their outstanding work and for winning this well-deserved award.”

EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. EEI’s members provide electricity for about 220 million Americans and operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Our many energy storage R&D initiatives – including the Energy Storage Research Center, Alabama Power and Georgia Power Smart Neighborhoods, and other enterprise-wide pilot demonstrations – are advancing energy storage as an effective, technically viable energy solution,” said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “We are grateful to receive the electric power industry’s most prestigious honor and proud to personify what this award represents.”

Southern Company was selected by a panel of former energy industry executives to receive the 92nd Annual EEI Edison Award for distinguished leadership, innovation and contribution to the advancement of the electric industry for the benefit of all.

The company was selected for its leadership of key energy storage system initiatives, including the development, commissioning and operation of the Energy Storage Research Center (ESRC) in Birmingham. The facility serves as an industrywide destination for battery energy storage technology testing, evaluation and large-scale demonstration. It was developed in collaboration with Southern Research, the Electric Power Research Institute, U.S. Department of Energy and others. The ESRC is among several Southern Company system energy storage R&D initiatives that achieved key milestones in 2019, including the Alabama Power and Georgia Power Smart Neighborhoods.

The Smart Neighborhood at Reynolds Landing in Hoover features a community-scale power system, or microgrid, built to generate energy for the neighborhood. It includes solar panels, battery storage and a backup, natural gas generator. The energy-efficient homes, which feature an array of smart technologies, can receive energy from both the microgrid and the existing electric grid, boosting reliability and resiliency.

“I want to thank Tom Kuhn and the distinguished panel of judges who participated in this year’s selection process,” Fanning said. “I would also like to thank our R&D partners in these efforts, including Southern Company’s operating subsidiaries, the Electric Power Research Institute, U.S. Department of Energy and many others. Their collaboration is essential as we move emerging energy storage technologies forward.”

It is the fifth time Southern Company has won the Edison Award and the second time in eight years. The company was last recognized in 2012 for leading the nuclear renaissance in the United States. Other wins came in 1969 to Mississippi Power, 1958 to Alabama Power and 1950 to Georgia Power.

Learn more about Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood projects at https://apcsmartneighborhood.com/.

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