Perdue's administration said the licensing battle was about the need to control a key water source for one of the country's largest and fastest-growing states and the chance to attract companies to one of North Carolina's job-scarce regions by offering low-cost electricity.
Alcoa estimated in 2006 that the dams generated almost $44 million a year in revenues. Over 50 years, that could mean revenues of more than $2 billion, an amount that could multiply if demand for clean power booms.
The company released financial statements in 2011 showing the dams returned profits of between $8 million and $7.3 million in each of the three previous, recession-scarred years on electricity sales that averaged about $30 million a year.
The Yadkin dams generated $21.7 million in revenues in 2011, down because of low water levels, the company said. Alcoa declined to describe its 2011 profits from electricity sales, and representatives did not respond when asked about 2012 revenues.
The company reported to federal regulators that the dams generated 715,000 megawatt hours of electricity in the year ending last September. Based on an average price of $26.87 per megawatt hour provided by energy information company Platts, that would have generated revenues of about $19.2 million over the 12-month period.
Emery Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio