Southern Co. joins the CEO-led Hydrogen Council as Global H2 Investment aims for $500B this decade

Jan. 26, 2022
Other members include 3M, Honeywell, Siemens Energy, Baker Hughes, Cummins, Matrix Service Co., Alstom, Wood and many more

Utility giant Southern Co. is casting its lot with industry leaders who believe that hydrogen is a key option for a decarbonized power generation and energy mix of the future.

Atlanta-based Southern has joined the Hydrogen Council, a CEO-led coalition of major commercial and industrial firms looking to the promise of H2 as a baseload and net-zero carbon contributor in the clean energy transition.

The Hydrogen Council members include 134 companies worldwide, from the utility, chemical, engineering and manufacturing sectors. Other members include 3M, Honeywell, Siemens Energy, Baker Hughes, Cummins, Matrix Service Co., Alstom, Wood and many more.

“The Southern Co. is embracing the role of hydrogen as a potentially powerful solution to holistically serve the needs of customers while providing a resilient energy system and driving growth in a decarbonized energy economy," said Chris Cummiskey, executive vice president and chief commercial and customer solutions officer for Southern Company. "We look forward to engaging with the Hydrogen Council to explore the opportunities for hydrogen to simultaneously serve customers and deeply decarbonize Southern Company system operations."

The global hydrogen pipeline of pilot projects and investments amounts to an estimated $500 billion through 2030, according to reports from research firms such as McKinsey. Many are utility-scale power generation and storage projects, although companies such as General Motors and Cummins are exploring ways of using electrolysis and fuel-cell technology for on-site power generators for large-scale users such as the military, data centers and others.

About 70 percent of those projects this decade focus on so-called green hydrogen, which must be created through electrolysis powered by clean energy resources such as solar and wind. The remainder would be through fossil fuel origins which then utilize carbon capture and sequestration, sometimes called blue hydrogen.

Southern Co. owns numerous utilities, including Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power. The company’s research and development arm is already engaged in a number of H2 projects connected to power generation, energy storage and infrastructure.

"We believe there is a compelling opportunity for hydrogen technology to deliver a sustainable energy future,” Dr. Mark S. Berry, Southern Company vice president of R&D, said in a statement. “Our membership in the Hydrogen Council offers a new avenue to advancing innovative energy solutions that provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy."

In addition to the Hydrogen Council, Southern Company is an anchor sponsor of the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative, a worldwide R&D collaborative between the Electric Power Research Institute and Gas Technology Institute looking at hydrogen technologies and applications, along with other low-carbon energy carriers.