Alabama has an important biofuel and biomass renewable energy sector that looks like it will continue to grow and gain importance in the state’s economy. The state has become an important player in the bioenergy industry both as a developer of biofuels from next-generation feedstocks and as a center for continued research into next generation biomass energy. The state is home to four biodiesel plants, producing approximately 60 million gallons per year of biodiesel fuel. The state is home to a 30 million gallons per year (mGy) 4rth generation algal biofuels commercial plant and a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol gasification plant.
In addition to its robust bioenergy sector Alabama is also at the forefront of compressed air energy storage (CAES), which after pumped hydro is the grid scale energy storage technology with the greatest installed capacity — with much of that global installed capacity being represented by the Alabama Electric Cooperative’s 110 MW CAES power Plant in McIntosh, Alabama.
Though Alabama has rater poor wind energy potential it does enjoy a fair amount of wind energy related employment; between 500-1,000 direct and indirect wind jobs are supported by the wind industry in Alabama in 2010. These jobs are mainly in the 7 manufacturing facilities located in Alabama that are currently producing components for the wind industry.
Alabama Power –the states major utility — has 14 hydroelectric facilities throughout the state which provide 6% of the company’s power generation.
The Pew Center of The States Clean Economy Report provides these green economy employment numbers for Alabama: For the year 2007 it reports that there were 799 green or cleantech businesses in the state; green sector employment stood at: 7,849. The number of green jobs in Alabama averaged a 2.2% growth rate for the decade (1998- 2007), which though rather low compares favorably with the overall average job growth of 1.6% for the same decade.