We live in a crazy mixed-up world where half-truths abound as politicians, stock promoters, forecasters and advocates of all stripes blithely ignore the vulgar exigencies of objective truth when it comes to the energy supplies that make our industrialized economies and comfortable lives possible. It’s a golden age of green illusions, a/k/a alternative energy fairy tales.
Since this series of articles will focus on the contrast between objective truths and green illusions, I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass:
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The modern electric grid is a technological marvel that instantaneously balances supply and demand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are three basic classes of generating assets.
“Base-load power plants” provide dependable, consistent and stable electric power. They operate at a steady state day-in and day-out and that makes base-load power plants highly efficient. As a result, base-load power plants typically produce the cheapest electricity.
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