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Summer rains help power the state through Alabama Power hydro plants

Although you may be tired of seeing raindrops on your windows, all the wet weather we’ve been getting in Alabama this summer has helped to produce the power needed to get us through the warmer months.

The recent rains are aiding Alabama Power’s hydro plants in their production of clean, emission-free, sustainable hydro energy for customers.

June was a record-setting month for rainfall in Alabama, boosting Alabama Power’s hydroelectric production and saving customers money. (file)

“The state had an abnormally wet June and July, with rain totaling more than 200 percent over its historical average in our hydro basins,” said Lisa Martindale, Alabama Power manager of Reservoir Management. “All that rain led Alabama Power hydro to the sixth-largest energy production we’ve seen for the month of June.

“That’s even more remarkable when you consider that four units at three different hydro plants were offline for scheduled maintenance the entire month of June,” Martindale added. “Our hydro employees have done an excellent job managing the heavy rainfall while generating safe, clean energy for our customers.”

During the first seven months of 2021, Alabama Power hydro production has been about 50% more than what was projected for the period. Typically, hydro makes up between 5% and 8% of Alabama Power’s diverse energy mix. Hydro is also the company’s most cost-effective source of energy, helping to provide savings and efficiencies for customers in the long run.

Alabama Power manages 14 hydro facilities on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers.

June was a record-setting month in the state for rainfall, breaking the record previously set in 2017 and making it the wettest June Alabamians have seen since record-keeping began in 1948.

June had 17 days of rain this year, with the most rainfall recorded on June 19 when Tropical Storm Claudette brought 8.16 inches of rain to the Tuscaloosa area in a single day. According to the National Weather Service in Birmingham, June brought Tuscaloosa 16.32 inches of rain.

July saw 28 rainy days. The historical average rainfall for Alabama Power basins in July is 4.86 inches; however, those watersheds finished the month this year with 8.13 inches – 67% more than usual.