Letter to the editor: We need coal & nuclear
I disagree with letter-writer Dwayne Kiger’s assertion that natural gas eliminates the need for coal ( “Trump lies about coal,” Aug. 6, TribLIVE). Coal and nuclear are needed to protect the grid. A natural-gas plant cannot store its fuel on site. Stop the flow of gas, and the lights go out about a minute later. A coal-fired plant usually has three weeks of fuel stored on site. Nuclear is fueled to run two years. A balanced mix of fuel sources is good for stability.
Don’t let the all the new wind turbines you see fool you. Just because you see them turning, don’t assume that they are making rated power. At low wind speeds (9 mph) a typical 1.5 megawatt turbine may only be generating 0.04 megawatts. Most wind turbines need a 30 mph wind to generate rated power. Fossil-fuel plants can respond to changing grid conditions by controlling their power outputs. Not so with solar and wind. This is why energy storage systems are being intensely researched.
Bottom line: Think of energy sources like your 401(k). The better balanced it is, the more stable it is.