In the Shepparton News yesterday, Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum described the world’s energy transformation as ‘‘the current brainless push for renewables, without sufficient back-up or baseload energy...’’
It is about time the myth of baseload power is exposed.
Baseload power is a historical dinosaur and it actually represents the minimum power demand on the electricity grid.
It was a requirement of coal power station design in the 1950s, to avoid turning power stations off at times of the day when demand was low.
In fact, because overnight demand was so low, consumers were offered low-cost off-peak power schemes for hot water services to keep the generators running.
Technology has moved on from baseload, with intelligent systems providing demand management of the electricity grid.
Coal-powered electricity generation is very slow and expensive to start up, as well as ramp up as demand increases.
Renewables on the other hand are able to quickly respond to demand changes.
Combined with a range of storage possibilities such concentrated thermal power with low-cost thermal storage (molten salt), geothermal power, gas turbines, pumped hydro, and large and small (domestic) batteries, renewables can practically eliminate the need for coal-fired power stations.
In addition, given the fact that renewables generally offer a lower electricity production cost, I would suggest that pursuing further coal-fired power generation (including so-called high efficiency low emission coal plants) is probably the brainless option.
Michael Molloy, Shepparton