Less than 5% of Alabama's electricity is generated by turbines driven by falling water at dams.
Alabama Power and the TVA generate hydro power from four of Alabama's major river basins all of which are above the Fall Line: The Coosa, Tallapoosa, Tennessee, and Sipsey/Warrior.
TVA operates three hydro plants on the Tennessee River with total capacity of about 1,200 MW (megawatts). Wheeler and Wilson plants are the largest in the state. Alabama Power has 7 plants along the Coosa River and 4 along the Tallapoosa River, with a total generating capacity of 1,380 MW. The 3 Alabama Power Plants along the Warrior River have a generating capacity of about 251 MW (Figure HY1)
Figure HY1. Location of dams and hydropower plants. Circles approximate power production. Black or red lines are dam locations.
The resevoirs behind the dams also provided Alabamians with large recreational areas to fish, sail, swim, and water ski. Alabamians took to the water (Figures HY2 and 3), profoundly changing the economy of the areas surrounding the lakes.
Figure HY2. Fishing below the spillway of Neely
(Image © Mike Neilson)
Figure HY3. Sailing on Lake Logan Martin. (Image © Mike Neilson)