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View Diary: With Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn at the helm, subcommittee hearing praises coal, blasts regulations (34 comments)

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  •  Probably not.... (0+ / 0-)

    While solar and wind energy installations help electric utilities reduce air emissions from their coal combustion units by sometimes allowing the coal combustors to reduce their operating fuel combustion rates, there are significant complicating factors that rule out a wholesale push to shutdown coal plants by substituting them with wind generation or solar units.

    In other words, it is not technically feasible as an act of electric utility system implementation, operational feasibility and electric utility energy stewardship to simply shut down all of its coal combustion units and substitute construction of the same numerical magnitude in megawatt generating capacity equal to the total physical generation capacity of the shut down units.

    Soiar and wind generation units are not baseload dispatchable and they physically cannot do what a baseload electric generation unit can do.   Solar and wind generation units are generation event-dispatched to the utility system operator, who cannot order dispatch of this generation as needed.

    Wind generation units operate at below 50% capacity factor.   Base load generation units typically and nominally will get capacity factors when well maintained exceeding 80-85%.

    Because of the effects of adverse meteorology conditions occurring during very large high pressure centers, all wind generation is subject to bad weather conditions with multiple state areas having winds below 4-5 miles per hour and extended calm areas.   This means that large electric utility systems over very large regional areas will have all or most of their wind units at near zero energy generation for long periods of time (days).   Solar is at or near zero at night.   As a result, an electric utility cannot meet its peak demands if it shuts down all of its base load units.

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