Monday, October 2, 2017

Finance: The Continuing Importance of Baseload Power Generation

How Important is Baseload Generation Capacity to U.S. Power Grids’ Reliability? (Energy Collective)

Data Source – EIA data.  Note: the Baseload percentage is based on the sum total of Coal, (fuels switching to) Natural Gas, Nuclear, Geothermal, 80% of Hydro and 50% of Petro+Biomass divided by total Power Sector net generation.

Recently a number of Politicians and Special Interests have advocated that the U.S. Power Sector’s ‘Baseload’ power generation capacity is outdated and rapidly becoming less important to maintaining Power Grids’ reliabilities and efficiencies.  

This position appears to be based on a number of recent years’ power systems’ performance factors, including significant power generation-mix changes, technology developments, and continuously sustaining major U.S. Power Grids’ reliabilities.  Major power generation mix changes have included the recent large growth in Wind & Solar ‘Variable Renewable Power’ (VRP) generation, decline of Baseload Coal Power generation to a 34-year low, and very large increases of Natural Gas Power.  

Yes, these factors are accurate, but how important has total Baseload Power net generation actually been in supporting past-current Power Grids’ reliabilities and sustaining future reliability?