SOUTHERN U.S. HYDRO GENERATION PROFILE, 2013
|State||Conventional Hydro MWh||Total MWh||Total Renewables MWh||Hydro as a % of total||Hydro as a % of renewable||Powered & Non-powered Dams|
|District of Columbia||–||60,215||–||0.0%||–||0|
Sources: USACE NID, EIA
Hydropower in the South
The South has more hydroelectric capacity than many realize, and Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina all fall in the top ten for state hydro generation. Even states without hydropower facilities within their borders – such as Delaware, which has very few energy resources overall – benefit from the grid stability provided to the regional transmission system, which incorporates hydropower.
Driven in part by the availability of clean, low-cost hydroelectric power, Alabama ranks 5th among states for renewable electricity generation overall, and with numerous projects along the Alabama and Coosa Rivers, is one of the largest hydroelectric producing states east of the Rocky Mountains. The largest electricity producer in the U.S., Southern Company, operates 34 hydropower facilities in Alabama and Georgia totaling 2,730MW. Generating up to 5 percent of the company’s electricity output, hydropower helps keeps the lights on for Southern’s more than 4 million customers in the Southeast.
Project highlight: Duke Energy
Duke Energy has embarked on a project to ensure the safety of three of the hydroelectric dams in its generating portfolio. The projects located near Nebo, North Carolina, are known collectively as the Bridgewater Hydroelectric Project are characterized as small hydro with a capacity of 20MW.
Construction on the first site, the Paddy Creek Dam, began in 2005, and work there as well as at the Catawba and Linville Dams was completed in 2012.
The dams are being strengthened against the potential effects of an earthquake in the area, meeting new federal regulations. Modifications will include building large structures along the downstream slopes of the dams to support the installations.
Duke operates 30 hydro stations in North Carolina, and the facilities are inspected routinely by the utility’s own staff, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and every five years, by an independent engineering consultant.