Drought conditions continue, question of impact on energy

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The latest numbers from Montgomery report 28 counties in Alabama are now placed under a drought emergency. This follows several weeks of dryness for much of North Alabama.

Water ways drying up, frail plants, and even cracks in the foundation of homes across the Tennessee Valley are a few of the things we've been seeing in recent weeks.

Jay Newkirk with Energy Huntsville says certain agencies related to energy need to keep these conditions on their radar.

"The one impact that the drought could have on our region would be TVA itself has got to do really tight management of the hydro-generation of electricity," said Newkirk.

The Tennessee Valley Authority serves 9 million people in seven southeastern states. Newkirk says if the drought conditions get worse for an extended period of time, this could pose concerns for such a reliable operation.

"The levels in our lakes here are going down and they've got to make sure that the turbines will be able to generate the kind of electricity that really maintains what they expect," said Newkirk.

While hydroelectricity is just one of the ways the TVA generates power, the impacts of long term drought is something the US Department of Energy says could potentially be a threat to the electric power grid in the southeast.