Alabama State Energy Profile



Alabama Quick Facts

  •  In 2012, Alabama ranked 17th among the states in the number of producing natural gas wells.
  • Mobile was the fourth largest seaport for exporting U.S. coal in 2012; coking coal used in the steelmaking process accounted for more than 85% of the total.
  • The three reactors at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Limestone County have a combined generating capacity of 3,310 megawatts, second only to Arizona’s Palo Verde plant in capacity among nuclear power plants in the United States.
  • Alabama ranked seventh among the states in 2013 in net electricity generation from renewable energy resources; conventional hydroelectric power supplied 80% of generation from renewable resources. 
  • Alabama ranked fifth in the United States in net electricity generation from wood waste, landfill gas, and other biomass in 2013; nearly all of that electricity was generated by nonutility power producers, primarily in the industrial sector. 

Last Updated: March 27, 2014



Data

Last Update: November 20, 2014 | Next Update: December 18, 2014

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Energy Indicators  
Demography Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Population 4.8 million 1.5% 2013  
Civilian Labor Force 2.1 million 1.4% Sep-14  
Economy Alabama U.S. Rank Period
Gross Domestic Product $ 189.5 billion 26 2012  
Gross Domestic Product for the Manufacturing Sector $ 33,272 million 22 2012  
Per Capita Personal Income $ 36,501 43 2013  
Vehicle Miles Traveled 64,959 million miles 16 2012  
Land in Farms 8.9 million acres 31 2012  
Prices  
Petroleum Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
Domestic Crude Oil First Purchase $ 94.24 /barrel $ 90.66 /barrel Aug-14  
Natural Gas Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
City Gate $ 4.80 /thousand cu ft $ 5.30 /thousand cu ft Aug-14 find more
Residential $ 21.64 /thousand cu ft $ 17.39 /thousand cu ft Aug-14 find more
Coal Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
Average Sales Price $ 106.57 /short ton $ 39.95 /short ton 2012  
Delivered to Electric Power Sector $ 2.85 /million Btu $ 2.36 /million Btu Aug-14  
Electricity Alabama U.S. Average Period find more
Residential 11.79 cents/kWh 13.01 cents/kWh Aug-14 find more
Commercial 10.96 cents/kWh 11.07 cents/kWh Aug-14 find more
Industrial 6.91 cents/kWh 7.38 cents/kWh Aug-14 find more
Reserves & Supply  
Reserves Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Crude Oil 51 million barrels 0.2% 2012 find more
Dry Natural Gas 2,228 billion cu ft 0.7% 2012 find more
Expected Future Production of Natural Gas Plant Liquids 55 million barrels 0.5% 2012 find more
Recoverable Coal at Producing Mines 265 million short tons 1.4% 2012 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 6,068 wells 1.2% 2013 find more
Production Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Total Energy 1,434 trillion Btu 1.8% 2012 find more
Crude Oil 733 thousand barrels 0.3% Aug-14 find more
Natural Gas - Marketed 196,326 million cu ft 0.8% 2013 find more
Coal 19,321 thousand short tons 1.9% 2012 find more
Capacity Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Crude Oil Refinery Capacity (as of Jan. 1) 120,100 barrels/calendar day 0.7% 2014  
Electric Power Industry Net Summer Capacity 31,846 MW 3.0% Aug-14  
Net Electricity Generation Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Total Net Electricity Generation 13,824 thousand MWh 3.6% Aug-14  
Net Electricity Generation (share of total) Alabama U.S. Average Period
Petroleum-Fired * 0.3 % Aug-14 find more
Natural Gas-Fired 34.5 % 31.6 % Aug-14 find more
Coal-Fired 35.2 % 38.9 % Aug-14 find more
Nuclear 24.7 % 18.5 % Aug-14 find more
Hydroelectric 3.5 % 5.2 % Aug-14 find more
Other Renewables 2.0 % 4.9 % Aug-14  
Stocks Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Motor Gasoline (Excludes Pipelines) 278 thousand barrels 1.5% Aug-14  
Distillate Fuel Oil (Excludes Pipelines) 860 thousand barrels 0.9% Aug-14 find more
Natural Gas in Underground Storage 25,680 million cu ft 0.4% Aug-14 find more
Petroleum Stocks at Electric Power Producers 271 thousand barrels 1.0% Aug-14 find more
Coal Stocks at Electric Power Producers 3,596 thousand tons 3.0% Aug-14 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 Chandeleur Pipeline Co., Enbridge Pipelines, Florida Gas Transmission Co., Gulf South Pipeline Co., Gulfstream Natural Gas System, Southeast Supply Header, Southern Natural Gas Co., Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., Texas Eastern Transmission Co., Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.  
Fueling Stations Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Motor Gasoline 3,082 stations 2.8% 2011  
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 1,905 trillion Btu 17 2012 find more
Total Consumption per Capita 395 million Btu 12 2012 find more
Total Expenditures $ 24,291 million 19 2012 find more
Total Expenditures per Capita $ 5,042 15 2012 find more
by End-Use Sector Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Consumption
    »  Residential 338 trillion Btu 1.7% 2012 find more
    »  Commercial 245 trillion Btu 1.4% 2012 find more
    »  Industrial 839 trillion Btu 2.7% 2012 find more
    »  Transportation 482 trillion Btu 1.8% 2012 find more
Expenditures
    »  Residential $ 4,096 million 1.7% 2012 find more
    »  Commercial $ 2,803 million 1.6% 2012 find more
    »  Industrial $ 4,784 million 2.1% 2012 find more
    »  Transportation $ 12,609 million 1.7% 2012 find more
by Source Alabama Share of U.S. Period
Consumption
    »  Petroleum 102.5 million barrels 1.5% 2012 find more
    »  Natural Gas 671.3 billion cu ft 2.6% 2012 find more
    »  Coal 25.7 million short tons 2.9% 2012 find more
Expenditures
    »  Petroleum $ 14,525 million 1.6% 2012 find more
    »  Natural Gas $ 2,593 million 1.9% 2012 find more
    »  Coal $ 1,804 million 4.0% 2012 find more
Consumption for Electricity Generation Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Petroleum 10 thousand barrels 0.6% Aug-14 find more
Natural Gas 35,808 million cu ft 3.9% Aug-14 find more
Coal 2,443 thousand short tons 3.0% Aug-14 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  
Environment  
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% 2014 find more
Ethanol Consumption 4,363 thousand barrels 1.4% 2012 find more
Total Emissions Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Carbon Dioxide 129.0 million metric tons 2.4% 2011  
Electric Power Industry Emissions Alabama Share of U.S. Period find more
Carbon Dioxide 69,106,650 metric tons 3.2% 2012  
Sulfur Dioxide 147,865 metric tons 4.0% 2012  
Nitrogen Oxide 51,222 metric tons 2.4% 2012  

Analysis

Last Updated: December 18, 2013

Overview

Alabama's energy use per capita is high because of demand for manufacturing and summer air conditioning.

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

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

Alabama's energy use is well above the national average because of high demand from the state's manufacturing base. Alabama ranks in the top one-third of states in energy consumption per person. The industrial sector consumes the most energy, using almost as much as the transportation and residential sectors combined. The leading industries in the state include the manufacture of chemicals, paper products, primary metals, transportation equipment, and food products. Despite high energy use for cooling during the hot, humid summers, the residential sector accounts for only about one-fifth of the state's total energy consumption. The transportation sector uses about one-fourth of the state's total energy and the industrial sector uses more than two-fifths.

Petroleum

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 to the southwest. Annual proven oil reserves and production recently increased following a significant drop-off from the mid-1990s.

Alabama has three petroleum refineries: one located near the Port of Mobile, one in Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River, and one in Atmore. In combination, they can refine about 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Petroleum products made at Alabama's refineries are delivered to local and regional markets and shipped by pipeline to states in the U.S. Northeast. Alabama receives additional petroleum products from Texas and Louisiana that are transported through the Colonial and Plantation interstate pipelines.

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 area are required to use gasoline with a reduced volatility during the summer months.

Natural gas

Alabama produces natural gas both onshore and in state waters offshore. Its annual natural gas production has declined since the late 1990s, and the state currently accounts for less than 1% of total U.S. output. More than one-half of Alabama's natural gas production comes from onshore wells, and much of that output comes from coalbed methane deposits (natural gas found trapped within coal seams) in the Black Warrior Basin and the Cahaba Coal Field. Alabama's proven reserves of natural gas have fallen to less than one-half of their peak of 5.8 trillion cubic feet in 1992.

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 next largest amount. Although about 3 out of every 10 households use natural gas for heating, the residential sector uses far less than one-tenth of the natural gas delivered to end-use customers because of the state's mild winters.

Coal

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

Alabama produces large amounts of high quality bituminous coal in the northern part of the state. Coal comes from both surface and underground mines. About half of the coal mined is delivered by railroad, barge, and truck to electric power plants in Alabama; a small amount is typically consumed by industrial facilities. The other half of coal produced is exported. Mobile is among the top four seaports for exporting U.S. coal, most of which is bound for Europe and South America. Mobile also unloads more imported coal than any other U.S. seaport.

About two-thirds of Alabama's domestic coal demand is met by coal from other states. Wyoming is the largest 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 Alabama.

Electricity

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 was typically the dominant fuel for electric power generation in the state, but natural gas has taken an increasing share in recent years, equaling or exceeding coal-fired generation. Alabama is also a major generator of nuclear power. Its two nuclear power plants, with five reactors combined, produce about one-fourth of the electricity generated in the state. The three reactors at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Limestone County have a combined generating capacity of 3,310 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, with about two dozen hydroelectric dams, located mainly along the Alabama and Coosa Rivers. Hydroelectric power typically supplies about 5% of the state's electricity generation. Alabama also ranks among the top states for electricity generation capacity from burning biomass, including wood byproducts from the state's substantial forest products industry.

Alabama's biggest electricity consumers are its residential and industrial sectors. The state's average household consumption of residential electricity is one of 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 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 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. The state is also a significant hydropower producer. Alabama's wind energy resources are considered small, except along the state's short coastline.

There is little commercial electricity generation from solar power. However, the state's largest electric utility, Alabama Power, has installed four types of solar panels using different technologies on the roof of its 18-story headquarters building in downtown Birmingham to assess which type of solar panel works best in Alabama's climate. The state's other major electricity provider, the Tennessee Valley Authority, offers homeowners and businesses financial incentives to install renewable energy generation and receive credit on their utility bills for power sold back to the electric grid.

One of the world's largest solid biofuel plants, located near Selma and originally designed to produce 500,000 tons of compressed wood pellets each year, shut down in late 2009. There are plans by a new owner to restart the plant, but annual output would be 275,000 tons, about one-half the original capacity.


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