IEA Clean Coal Centre provides unbiased information on the clean and efficient use of coal world-wide, including subjects related to clean coal technology. Funded by member countries and industrial sponsors IEA CCC products include in-depth topical reports available in PDF form, a range of workshop series, the Clean Coal Technologies Conference, and online databases of coal information and resources. IEA CCC also provides direct advice, facilitation of R & D and networks.

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Levelling the intermittency of renewables with coal, CCC/268

Research Report: CCC/268

Coal-fired power plants are designed to run most efficiently and cost effectively when running at steady baseload. Renewable energy systems, such as wind and solar, are much more sporadic in their energy output, varying with weather conditions. The energy from renewable sources is currently prioritised for input into the grid in many countries, meaning that thermal plants such as those powered by coal or nuclear sources must now provide more flexible output to keep the available energy in the network at the required level. This ramping and cycling of coal plants puts a strain on the boiler and increases the risk of operation and maintenance problems. This report evaluates the different cost penalties of increasing the flexibility of coal-fired plants to cope with the intermittency of renewable power source, indicating that cycling operation can be expensive and, in some situations, costs can increase by orders of magnitude.

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