Julie Rose / WFAE

Updated 6:15pm
After nearly a century generating power in North Carolina, aluminum maker Alcoa is selling its four hydroelectric dams along the Yadkin River. The buyer is a Maryland company that bills itself as a producer of clean energy.

Julie Rose

  A long-standing agreement that forms the basis of Alcoa's quest for a new 50-year license to operate dams on the Yadkin River is in question. One state agency that signed onto the agreement has pulled out and other signers are pondering the same thing.

Julie Rose / WFAE

  The State of North Carolina is taking aluminum giant Alcoa to court over a series of hydroelectric dams on the Yadkin River. It's the latest turn in a decade-long dispute:

Julie Rose / WFAE

Alcoa has settled a long-standing dispute with a primary foe in its fight to maintain control of hydropower dams on the Yadkin River.  Stanly County Commissioners voted Monday night to drop their legal challenges against Alcoa, which was a major employer in the region until closing its aluminum smelter in 2002.  


Alcoa now makes a profit selling the electricity from those dams and Stanly County has long argued the public would be better served if those dams were under the state's control. 


All Things Considered Host Mark Rumsey gets some analysis on the settlement from WFAE reporter  Julie Rose.


Julie Rose / WFAE

Alcoa has gotten its wish from a judge - the chance to start over in trying to get the approval of state regulators for its dams on the Yadkin River.

Alcoa is in this game for the rights to operate dams on the Yadkin River another 50 years. Right now the company's just a few yards shy of that goal. The final thing it needs is approval from state water quality regulators.

Alcoa and the State Division of Water Quality are at odds about how to move forward with the aluminum company's hydropower license on the Yadkin River.

Trading Yadkin River Control For Jobs?

Oct 20, 2011

Alcoa says it has a company ready to move into the former aluminum smelter in Badin and create 450 high-paying jobs. But the deal will only happen if Stanly County officials drop their long-standing opposition to Alcoa's quest for another 50-year hydropower license on the Yadkin River. Stanly County commissioners believe the state should control those lucrative dams and use them to drive economic development. WFAE has learned that negotiations between Alcoa and Stanly County have become so tense that a mediator is now involved.

Alcoa, Stanly County Square Off Over Jobs

Sep 26, 2011

Tensions have heightened once again between Alcoa and government officials. The aluminum giant says it's found a company to move onto the site of its smelter in Badin, which closed 2002. The new company - Clean Tech Silicon and Bar LLC - says it will bring hundreds of jobs, but only if Stanly County drops its opposition to Alcoa's hydropower relicensing effort. Thus far, that's a demand the county has been unwilling to meet. 

Alcoa's quest to get another 50-year operating license for its dams on the Yadkin River faces a key hearing Friday in Raleigh. The company no longer needs the dams for an aluminum smelter in Stanly County, but wants to continue selling the electricity for a profit. Governor Perdue and Stanly County officials hope to block Alcoa's license renewal. But WFAE's Julie Rose reports the process is going forward. 

Julie Rose

The aluminum company Alcoa is still fighting for a new 50-year license to control dams on the Yadkin River. It's mounted an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign to counter opponents like Governor Perdue and Stanly County commissioners. Part of the debate focuses on contamination of fish at Badin Lake. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: