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2- the biggest losers of such effect are not the flexible plants, it's the exact opposite: it's the other "price takers: nuclear plants, coal-fired plants, and base load gas prices. All of these (the core business of the big utilities) see the prices they get mot of the day go down, and they lose income.

3- The flexible plants - the gas peakers  and hydro - will actually make more money as they are asked to support the system balance in new ways as renewables take a bigger part of the system. There is a known business model for peakers, functioning a few % of the time only, and it applies even more now.

AFAIK, right now, the flexible plants do feel the pain due to renewables, mainly because solar is at the level where it chops off the daytime peak on sunny days but doesn't affect baseload much (unlike wind). So there isn't only a trend to push flexible plants from baseload to intermediate and peak load, but presently there is a reduction of demand for intermediate load. I wrote about this here. Also reported how this development affects plans for a pumped hydro plant, hurts the profits of hard coal plants (which mostly run in the intermediate power regime). As for gas, E.on announced plans to close three older gas plants.

Once wind and solar capacity grows further, the equation may change again to hurt conventional baseload more and give more room to peak power. (But, not necessarily, if natural balancing is significant.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jul 31st, 2012 at 06:59:07 AM EST

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