coal


The Real Reason Behind Coal’s Cycling Woes

, Senior Energy Analyst

Integrating renewables into the current mix of resources sure does get a lot of attention these days. Sadly, the issue has been thrown up as an unnecessary barrier to the development of wind and solar. One of the most pervasive arguments I’ve heard suggests integrating variable resources (like wind and solar) is costly and sometimes physically impossible. But data recently analyzed by UCS adds to the growing body of work that undercuts such arguments. Read more >

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Brayton Point coal plant Credit: Mr. Ducke (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dippy_duck/)

Coal Is No Longer a Baseload Resource, So Why Run Plants All Year?

, Senior Energy Analyst

Today’s energy experts are increasingly questioning the validity of the generations-old way of thinking about our electric grid that says coal is needed as a baseload power resource year-round. “Baseload resources” are the generators that are thought of as providing a constant stream of electric power year-round. At its simplest level, energy wonks tend to fall in one of two camps:

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Synapse Energy Economics
Sierra Club + UCS
EIA
UCS
EIA
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Three Ways Advocacy Has Enabled Market Forces to Clean up the Power Grid

, Senior Energy Analyst

Market forces are powerful—but advocacy by independent groups has played a critical role in making sure economics and market forces can do their job. Read more >

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How Does Uneconomic Coal Generation Impact the Grid? A Discussion with Regulators

, Senior Energy Analyst

On November 19th I had the privilege to sit on a panel of industry luminaries discussing an issue I’ve been researching for some time: Coal-fired power plants that operate uneconomically in wholesale markets.

Wholesale power markets all have rules in place that are designed to prevent power plants from running uneconomically. However, some power plant operators use those same market rules to bypass the market decision-making process through a process known as “self-committing.” Self-committing coal-fired power plants allow those plants to operate out of “merit-order” (from least cost to highest cost) and can result in serious market distortion and inflated consumer costs. Read more >

Photo: PDTillman/Wikimedia Commons
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Heads and tails of 1983 U.S. quarter dollar

For Some, Coal Contracts are, “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.”

, Senior Energy Analyst

There is a pervasive myth in the electric sector that the owners of coal-fired power plants all sign long term contracts for coal. Once upon a time, that may have been true; but that simply isn’t the case today.

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By AKS.9955 – Own work,
UCS
UCS
UCS
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