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On-and-Off Wind and Solar Power Pushing Coal Plants to the Brink

  • Nebraska Gentleman coal plant running at full speed less often
  • Frequently raising, lowering output is ‘wearing things down’
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The Gentleman coal plant was once the linchpin of Nebraska’s electricity grid, its twin smokestacks visible for miles across the prairie. Now, the state’s biggest power source is routinely pushed aside to make room for more wind and solar energy.

Operators ramp it down and then bring it back up again, often on a daily basis. That’s not how coal-fired power plants are supposed to be used -- they respond more like oil tankers than speed boats -- and the stress is taking a toll on the aging equipment.