Some myths are hard to kill, especially when they once contained a grain of truth, and keeping outdated ideas alive might save a dying industry. Ministers, journalists and pro-nuclear politicians of all stripes keep repeating the mantra that baseload power is needed to keep the lights on when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. In 2020 this statement is no longer true and excess baseload power is becoming an embarrassment. Nuclear power, so inflexible that it cannot be turned down or off, is surplus to requirements when large quantities of cheaper renewable energy are available. The need to accommodate nuclear power pushes up bills because windfarm owners are being paid to turn off turbines and avoid making unwanted free electricity. The problem of intermittency has not been completely cracked because the grid and technology needs updating to cope with the occasional shortfalls of renewables but batteries, pump storage, biogas turbines and other engineering tricks are rapidly solving the problem. Out of earshot of the politicians, the question of what to do with all the surplus power when demand is low is being tackled by increasing storage capacity but also by making green hydrogen. Some nuclear buffs are even suggesting hydrogen production might be the only viable hope for using up their spare power.
Guardian 27th Jan 2020 read more »