Base Load?

What about Base Load electricity?  This is often suggested as a reason why we need nuclear power, and cannot use renewable energy.

Some facts about Base Load electricity

Eskom defines base load power to mean a power station that is fully operational and generating its rated power for more than 70% of the time. Using this definition, neither nuclear reactor at Koeberg has supplied base load power to the grid over its lifetime.

Solar power plants are now able to generate power 24/7 (see solar-power-24×7) , which means solar power can be used for base load.

In fact, the term ‘base load’ is becoming outdated.  It was used in the days when there were only two sources of power – coal and gas.  The coal stations took days to start up or shut down, and the gas turbines could be started up within minutes.  These days with smart grid technology, net metering, variable rate metering and price elasticity, co-generation, micro refit, centralised thermal storage and distributed storage (such as electric vehicles), and variable renewable energy inputs, things have got more complicated.  Its time for a new generation of engineers who understand renewable energy to take over at Eskom, and for the old generation who know nothing but ‘base load’ and ‘non base load’ to step aside.

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