Alabama has a diverse electricity generating portfolio. Coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, and biomass are all significant sources of electricity in Alabama. Over the past decade (2006-2016), natural gas has displaced coal as the primary source of electricity in Alabama. Today, natural gas fuels about 40% of the state's electricity generation, while coal fuels about 24%.
The two dozen hydroelectric dams in Alabama supply about 6% of the state's electricity generation. That makes it the largest renewable energy source in Alabama. Biomass is the second-largest, contributing about 2.3% of total electricity production. Most of the fuel for biomass energy is wood and wood waste from the substantial forest products industry in Alabama.
Alabama Electricity Prices
Alabama has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
Fortunately, Alabama residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Alabama residents in December 2016 was 12.00¢ per kWh, which is .21¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Alabama, though, having increased more than 10% over the past 5 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Alabama residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Alabama Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2011-2016, natural gas went from about 30% to 40% of Alabama's total electricity production. Over the same period, electricity production from coal fell almost 40%.
Alabama Energy Sector Employment
According to the Energy Institute of Alabama, the state's energy industry employed 124,000 people in 2015. Utility companies provide about 65% of these jobs, while mining companies make up the remaining 35%. Some of the largest employers in the Alabama Energy Industry are Alabama Power, Walter Energy, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Alabama Utility Companies
Some of the largest electric utilities in Alabama are Alabama Power, Baldwin EMC, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
- Serves approximately 1.4 million electric customers in Alabama
- Headquartered in Birmingham, AL
- Subsidiary of Southern Company
- Serves approximately 73,000 electric customers in Alabama
- Headquartered in Summerdale, AL
- Largest electric cooperative in Alabama
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
- Supplies electricity to 17 municipal and 8 cooperatively owned utilities
- Headquartered in Knoxville, TN
- Founded in 1933
Arcadia's Alabama Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Alabama residents:
As an Alabama utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Alabama. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Alabama utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.