Base load power sources are those facilities that run nonstop to satisfy the bare minimum of power demand. Large-scale base load facilities are essential to an effective electric system and are frequently used. Base load facilities are not intended to respond to peak needs or crises; instead, they continuously supply power. Renewable and non-renewable resources may both be used in the base load power generation.
The base load is the minimal amount of electricity needed during a 24-hour period. Power must be supplied to components that are always in operation (also referred to as continuous load). High demand is experienced during peak load.
What is Peak demand?
These increasing demands frequently only last for a short time. Peak demand can be thought of mathematically as the difference between base demand and greatest demand. The microwave, toaster, and television are examples of household loads that experience peak demand, whereas the refrigerator and HVAC systems experience base demand.
Coal and nuclear fuels are examples of non-renewable resources (fossil fuels). Hydropower, geothermal heat, biomass, biogas, and solar thermal resource with associated energy storage are examples of renewable resources.
What are the challenges posed by renewable energy in terms of power demand?
The power demand often fluctuates cyclically from day to day, peaking during business hours and tumbling to its lowest point during late night and early morning, but never falling below a specific threshold.
Base load was considered when determining how to create the energy needed by people back when electric power systems were being designed. The time it takes to start and stop conventional generation systems varies. Generators that are powered by gas or oil may be turned on in a matter of minutes. However, starting or stopping a coal-fired power plant takes a day, whereas nuclear power plants require a week or longer.
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The straightforward approach was to use the quickest systems (hydro, gas) for varying loads and the cheapest generation (coal, nuclear, etc.) for the base load. But there was no real reason to do that. Just the accountants were kept content.
The year 2016 and renewable energy follow. Now, in addition to the problem of numerous renewables producing surges of supply, we also face the problem of the entire nation wanting a cup of coffee, resulting in surges of demand.
However, the remedy is the same: while the Sun is shining, put the generators in reserve and burn fossil fuels to make up the difference when the clouds cover the Sun. It still saves a lot of fuel compared to not using the Sun, and the solar farms may be providing base load during times when the Sun shines.