Gas turbine generators also add to the viability of wind and solar power generation. Conventional power plants use fossil fuels to fire boilers which create steam to drive the generators. Boiler plants can take one to two days to bring on line and do not handle fluctuations in load very well. Nuclear plants are also best run at a steady load. Gas turbines can be brought on line in a little as 15 minutes and easily modulate to handle the load fluctuations that wind and solar plants are susceptible to.
We also discussed PJM, the organization that manages power generation and distribution throughout our region. An upcoming AEE/NCC chapter meeting will provide additional insight into the complexities of keeping everyone’s electricity on so I will comment on that information at that time.