Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Terminology Tuesday: Base Load Power Plant

A base load power plant provides a steady flow of power regardless of the demand on the electric grid. These plants run at all times through the year except in the case of repairs or scheduled maintenance.

The plants don't change production to match power consumption demands - it is cheaper to run them continuously. Typically these plants are large enough to provide a majority of the power used by a grid, and in the US that means they're normally coal plants.

As we move towards a renewable energy economy, we need to rethink our dependency on one source of energy and instead create a reliable, efficient system made up of many local, clean energy sources.

Source: Wikipedia

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"As we move towards a renewable energy economy, we need to rethink our dependency on one source of energy and instead create a reliable, efficient system made up of many local, clean energy sources."

I hear this argument alluded to often, but what are the disadvantages to having a power system based on base load plants?

Maria Surma Manka said...

Hi Anonymous -

I'm not against the idea of base load power plants, but our base load power plants are over-dependent on a dirty power source: coal. As we lessen our reliance on coal, certain forms of renewable energy that are more controllable could serve as part of the baseload mix: Biomass or hydropower, for example.