Op-Ed: The end for ‘baseloadism’ in South Africa and the need for ‘flexible’ power generation

Daily Maverisk, Chris Yelland, 2 August, 2017.

In the brave new world of power generation, the old paradigm and approach of dispatching baseload, mid-merit and peaking generation capacity, in that order, to meet electricity demand, is being turned on its head. By CHRIS YELLAND.

First published by EE Publishers

With the massive reduction in the price of renewable energy from wind and solar photo-voltaic (PV) plant over the last five years to levels now less than half that of energy from new coal and nuclear baseload plant, a new approach to power generation beyond “baseloadism” is emerging.

Fig. 1: Energy price reduction from wind and solar PV in South Africa, 2011 to 2015 (Source: CSIR)

In fact, the cost of energy in South Africa from new wind and solar PV plant is now even lower than Eskom’s average cost of electricity from its entire, ageing power generation fleet comprising a mix of coal, nuclear, hydro, pumped water storage and diesel-driven open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs).

Here is the full article.

One thought on “Op-Ed: The end for ‘baseloadism’ in South Africa and the need for ‘flexible’ power generation

  1. Richard

    Indeed, baseload can be viewed a requirement of legacy energy systems and does not need to be the basis of future energy systems. Energy transition needs to separate the idea of minimal average demand from the type of power that produces it.

    One answer to the common suggestion that “Renewables can’t provide baseload” , can be to point to new energy systems based on a majority share renewable energy which are indeed different, but preferable.


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