Alabama State Energy Profile

Alabama Quick Facts

  • In 2013, Alabama ranked 17th in the nation in the number of producing natural gas wells.
  • Mobile, Alabama was the fourth-largest seaport for exporting U.S. coal in 2013. Coking coal used in the steelmaking process accounted for 82% of total exported coal.
  • The three reactors at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Limestone County, Alabama have a combined generating capacity of 3,310 megawatts, second in capacity only to Arizona’s Palo Verde plant.
  • Alabama ranked ninth in 2014 in net electricity generation from renewable energy resources. Conventional hydroelectric power supplied 75% of Alabama's generation from renewable resources. 
  • Alabama ranked sixth in the United States in net electricity generation from wood waste, landfill gas, and other biomass in 2014; nearly all of that electricity was generated by nonutility power producers, primarily in the industrial sector. 

Last Updated: April 16, 2015


Last Update: November 19, 2015 | Next Update: December 17, 2015

Energy Indicators  
Demography Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Population 4.8 million 1.5% 2014  
Civilian Labor Force 2.1 million 1.4% Sep-15  
Economy Alabama U.S. Rank Period
Gross Domestic Product $ 199.4 billion 26 2014  
Gross Domestic Product for the Manufacturing Sector $ 35,322 million 23 2014  
Per Capita Personal Income $ 37,512 45 2014  
Vehicle Miles Traveled 65,046 million miles 16 2013  
Land in Farms 8.9 million acres 31 2012  
Climate Alabama U.S. Rank Period
Average Temperature 62.1 degrees Fahrenheit 8 2014  
Precipitation 56.1 inches 3 2014  
Petroleum Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
Domestic Crude Oil First Purchase $ 39.82 /barrel $ 39.98 /barrel Aug-15  
Natural Gas Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
City Gate $ 4.04 /thousand cu ft $ 4.53 /thousand cu ft Aug-15 find more
Residential $ 20.60 /thousand cu ft $ 16.73 /thousand cu ft Aug-15 find more
Coal Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
Average Sales Price $ 88.20 /short ton $ 37.24 /short ton 2013  
Delivered to Electric Power Sector $ 2.47 /million Btu $ 2.22 /million Btu Aug-15  
Electricity Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
Residential 12.05 cents/kWh 12.93 cents/kWh Aug-15 find more
Commercial 11.02 cents/kWh 10.90 cents/kWh Aug-15 find more
Industrial 6.60 cents/kWh 7.32 cents/kWh Aug-15 find more
Reserves & Supply  
Reserves Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Crude Oil 44 million barrels 0.1% 2013 find more
Dry Natural Gas 1,597 billion cu ft 0.5% 2013 find more
Expected Future Production of Natural Gas Plant Liquids 51 million barrels 0.4% 2013 find more
Recoverable Coal at Producing Mines 383 million short tons 1.9% 2013 find more
Rotary Rigs & Wells Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Rotary Rigs in Operation 5 rigs 0.3% 2013  
Natural Gas Producing Wells 6,118 wells 1.2% 2014 find more
Production Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Total Energy 1,463 trillion Btu 1.8% 2013 find more
Crude Oil 813 thousand barrels 0.3% Aug-15 find more
Natural Gas - Marketed 181,054 million cu ft 0.7% 2014 find more
Coal 18,620 thousand short tons 1.9% 2013 find more
Capacity Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Crude Oil Refinery Capacity (as of Jan. 1) 120,100 barrels/calendar day 0.7% 2015  
Electric Power Industry Net Summer Capacity 31,746 MW 3.0% Aug-15  
Net Electricity Generation Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Total Net Electricity Generation 14,292 thousand MWh 3.6% Aug-15  
Net Electricity Generation (share of total) Alabama U.S. Average Period
Petroleum-Fired * 0.3 % Aug-15 find more
Natural Gas-Fired 36.7 % 35.2 % Aug-15 find more
Coal-Fired 31.2 % 34.5 % Aug-15 find more
Nuclear 25.9 % 18.5 % Aug-15 find more
Hydroelectric 4.1 % 4.9 % Aug-15 find more
Other Renewables 2.0 % 5.9 % Aug-15  
Stocks Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Motor Gasoline (Excludes Pipelines) 246 thousand barrels 1.4% Aug-15  
Distillate Fuel Oil (Excludes Pipelines) 1,369 thousand barrels 1.1% Aug-15 find more
Natural Gas in Underground Storage 30,084 million cu ft 0.4% Aug-15 find more
Petroleum Stocks at Electric Power Producers 396 thousand barrels 1.4% Aug-15 find more
Coal Stocks at Electric Power Producers 3,734 thousand tons 2.4% Aug-15 find more
Production Facilities Alabama
Major Coal Mines None find more
Petroleum Refineries Goodway Refining (Atmore), Hunt Refining (Tuscaloosa), Shell Chemical (Saraland) find more
Major Non-Nuclear Electricity Generating Plants Barry (Alabama Power Co) ; James H Miller Jr (Alabama Power Co) ; H Allen Franklin Combined Cycle (Southern Power Co) ; E B Harris Electric Generating Plant (Southern Power Co) ; E C Gaston (Alabama Power Co)  
Nuclear Power Plants Browns Ferry (Tennessee Valley Authority), Joseph M Farley (Alabama Power Co) find more
Distribution & Marketing  
Distribution Centers Alabama
Petroleum Ports Mobile find more
Natural Gas Market Hubs None  
Major Pipelines Alabama find more
Crude Oil Plains Pipeline, Hunt Crude Oil Supply  
Petroleum Product Colonial Pipeline, Kinder Morgan  
Natural Gas Liquids Enterprise Products  
Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines Alabama Gas Corporation, American Midstream AlaTenn LLC, Bay Gas Storage, Chandeleur Pipeline Company, Childersburg Water Works, Sewer, and Gas Board, DCP Midstream LP, Florida Gas Transmission Company, Gulf South Pipeline Company LP, Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC, Midcontinent Express Pipeline, Southeast Supply Header, Southern Natural Gas Company, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, Texas Eastern Transmission LP, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, USG Pipeline Company  
Fueling Stations Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Motor Gasoline 3,068 stations 2.7% 2012  
Liquefied Petroleum Gases 94 stations 3.4% 2013  
Compressed Natural Gas 15 stations 1.3% 2013  
Ethanol 28 stations 1.1% 2013  
Other Alternative Fuels 61 stations 0.4% 2013  
Consumption & Expenditures  
Summary Alabama U.S. Rank Period
Total Consumption 1,931 trillion Btu 17 2013 find more
Total Consumption per Capita 400 million Btu 13 2013 find more
Total Expenditures $ 24,156 million 21 2013 find more
Total Expenditures per Capita $ 4,997 18 2013 find more
by End-Use Sector Alabama Share of U.S. Period
    »  Residential 359 trillion Btu 1.7% 2013 find more
    »  Commercial 257 trillion Btu 1.4% 2013 find more
    »  Industrial 847 trillion Btu 2.7% 2013 find more
    »  Transportation 470 trillion Btu 1.8% 2013 find more
    »  Residential $ 4,252 million 1.7% 2013 find more
    »  Commercial $ 2,850 million 1.6% 2013 find more
    »  Industrial $ 4,817 million 2.1% 2013 find more
    »  Transportation $ 12,237 million 1.7% 2013 find more
by Source Alabama Share of U.S. Period
    »  Petroleum 99.8 million barrels 1.4% 2013 find more
    »  Natural Gas 618.0 billion cu ft 2.4% 2013 find more
    »  Coal 27.2 million short tons 2.9% 2013 find more
    »  Petroleum $ 13,766 million 1.6% 2013 find more
    »  Natural Gas $ 3,091 million 2.0% 2013 find more
    »  Coal $ 1,732 million 3.8% 2013 find more
Consumption for Electricity Generation Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Petroleum 10 thousand barrels 0.5% Aug-15 find more
Natural Gas 38,178 million cu ft 3.6% Aug-15 find more
Coal 2,268 thousand short tons 3.1% Aug-15 find more
Energy Source Used for Home Heating (share of households) Alabama U.S. Average Period
Natural Gas 28.5 % 48.3 % 2013  
Fuel Oil 0.2 % 5.5 % 2013  
Electricity 63.1 % 37.4 % 2013  
Liquefied Petroleum Gases 6.7 % 4.8 % 2013  
Other/None 1.6 % 3.9 % 2013  
Special Programs Alabama find more
Clean Cities Coalitions Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition  
Alternative Fuels Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Alternative Fueled Vehicles in Use 15,401 vehicles 1.3% 2011 find more
Ethanol Plant Operating Capacity 0 million gal/year 0.0% 2015 find more
Ethanol Consumption 6,318 thousand barrels 2.0% 2013 find more
Total Emissions Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Carbon Dioxide 121.0 million metric tons 2.3% 2012  
Electric Power Industry Emissions Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Carbon Dioxide 66,986 thousand metric tons 3.1% 2013  
Sulfur Dioxide 131 thousand metric tons 3.6% 2013  
Nitrogen Oxide 52 thousand metric tons 2.4% 2013  


Last Updated: April 16, 2015


Alabama's energy use per capita is high because of demand from the state's manufacturing base.

Alabama is located on the Gulf of Mexico where warm Gulf waters provide the abundant moisture that covers the state in humidity most of the year. Two-thirds of the state is Gulf coastal plain. In its north, Alabama rises to include the southwestern limits of the Appalachian Mountains. Although the climate is subtropical, cold air brings snow to the northern half of the state in most years.

Alabama is rich in energy resources. The state has substantial deposits of coal, and some crude oil and natural gas reserves, including coalbed methane resources. Several dams in the state provide hydroelectric power, and Alabama's forests, which cover more than two-thirds of the state's land, provide ample biomass.

Energy use in Alabama is well above the national average because of high demand from the state's manufacturing base. Alabama ranks in the top one-fourth of states in energy consumption per person. The industrial sector consumes the most energy, using more than the transportation sector and residential sector combined. Leading industries in the state include transportation equipment manufacturing, chemicals, primary metals, petroleum, coal, paper products, and food products. Despite high energy use for cooling during the hot, humid summers, the residential sector and the commercial sector together account for only about three-tenths of the state's total energy consumption. The transportation sector uses about one-fourth of Alabama's total energy, and the industrial sector uses more than two-fifths.


Alabama's three oil refineries can process about 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Alabama produces a small amount of crude oil from fields in the northwestern part of the state and on the Gulf Coast in the southwestern part of the state. Annual crude oil production has increased slightly in the past three years for the first time since a significant drop-off in the mid-1990s. Proved crude oil reserves have remained fairly constant over the past three decades at an average of just below 50 million barrels.

Alabama has three petroleum refineries. One refinery is located near the Port of Mobile, one is in Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River, and one is in Atmore. These refineries have a combined capacity of about 120,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day. The refineries produce feedstocks for chemical plants, specialty products, transportation fuels, and asphalt. Petroleum products made at Alabama's refineries are delivered to local and regional markets and are shipped by pipeline to states in the Northeast. Alabama receives additional petroleum products from Texas and Louisiana that are transported through the Colonial Pipeline and the Plantation Pipeline systems.

The majority of the petroleum consumed in Alabama is used as transportation fuels, particularly motor gasoline. Reformulated gasoline is not required in Alabama and most of the state can use conventional gasoline year round. Counties in the Birmingham, Alabama, area are required to use motor gasoline with a reduced volatility during the summer months.

Natural gas

Alabama produces natural gas both onshore and offshore in state waters. The state's annual natural gas production has declined from its peak in 1996, and Alabama currently contributes less than 1% to the nation's total natural gas production. More than half of Alabama's natural gas production comes from onshore wells, and more than two-thirds of the state's onshore natural gas production comes from coalbed methane—natural gas derived from coal seams. Alabama's coalbed methane wells are located in the Black Warrior Basin and in the Cahaba Basin. Overall, Alabama's proved reserves of natural gas have fallen to about one-fourth of their 1992 peak of 5.8 trillion cubic feet.

An increasing amount of the natural gas delivered to end-use customers in Alabama is going to the electric power sector, and, since 2007, that sector has been the largest natural gas-consuming sector in the state. The industrial sector consumes the second-largest amount. Although about 3 out of every 10 households use natural gas for heating, the residential sector uses less than one-tenth of the natural gas delivered to end-use customers, primarily because of the state's mild winters.


Mobile, Alabama is one of the largest U.S. coal ports, handling both imports and exports.

Coal has been mined commercially in Alabama for more than 150 years, and the state ranks 13th in total coal production and 5th in bituminous coal production among the states. Alabama produces large amounts of high-quality bituminous coal in the northern part of the state from both surface and underground mines. The majority of the coal produced in Alabama is exported. Mobile, Alabama, is among the top four seaports for exporting U.S. coal, most of which is bound for Europe and South America. In 2013, Mobile also was second only to Tampa, Florida, in coal imports. Most of the coal mined in Alabama for domestic sale is delivered by railroad, barge, and truck to electric power plants in the state. Some coal is also delivered to industrial facilities. Minor amounts are delivered to nearby states.

About three-fourths of the domestically produced coal consumed in Alabama comes from other states. Wyoming is the largest coal supplier. Coal is delivered to Alabama by railroad, river barge, and truck. Coal is also imported, mostly from Latin America. Electric power plants are the biggest consumers of coal in the state.


The Browns Ferry plant has the second largest nuclear electric generating capacity in the United States.

Alabama ranks among the top states in electricity generation. Coal has typically fueled the largest share of electric power generation in the state, but, because of market fluctuations and increased availability, natural gas has provided a larger share in recent years, exceeding coal-fired generation in 2012 and in 2014. Alabama is one of the 10 largest generators of electricity from nuclear power in the nation. The state's two nuclear power plants, with five reactors combined, typically produce about one-fourth of the electricity generated in Alabama. The three reactors at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Limestone County have a combined generating capacity of 3,309 megawatts, second only to Arizona's Palo Verde plant in generating capacity among nuclear power plants in the United States.

Alabama is one of the top producers of hydroelectric power east of the Rocky Mountains, second only to New York. Hydroelectric dams, located mainly along the Alabama River and Coosa River, typically supply about 6% of the state's electricity generation. Alabama also ranks among the top 10 states for electricity generation from biomass, including wood byproducts from the state's substantial forest products industry.

Retail electricity sales in Alabama are highest in the industrial sector, followed closely by the residential sector. Average monthly consumption of electricity in Alabama's residential sector is among the highest in the country because of high air-conditioning demand during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months. Nonetheless, Alabama's electricity production exceeds the state's consumption, which allows large amounts of electricity to be delivered to the neighboring states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia over several high-voltage interstate transmission lines.

Renewable energy

Alabama's hydroelectric facilities provide most of the state's renewable electricity generation. The rest of the state's renewable generation comes from biomass. Alabama ranks among the top states in net electricity generation from wood waste, landfill gas, and other biomass, most of which is generated by nonutility power producers. Additionally, a full-scale commercial biomass pellet plant with an annual capacity of 275,000 tons is located near Selma, Alabama. The state has few wind resources except along its short coastline and a few other areas along the spine of the mountains in northern Alabama where the wind resource is modest.

There is little commercial electricity generation from solar power in Alabama. However, the state's largest electric utility, Alabama Power, has installed solar panels on buildings in downtown Birmingham and Mobile, as well as on power poles throughout the state, to assess solar panel efficiency in Alabama's climate. Alabama Power is also researching blade design for wind turbine use in low-wind environments. The state's other major electricity provider, the Tennessee Valley Authority, offers homeowners and businesses financial incentives to install renewable energy generation and they receive credit on their utility bills for power sold back to the electric grid.

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