2 Significant edit to change the focus of the question, better linking to sustainability.
source | link

How much Does a short-term shut down of a coal do power plants burn when they're not supplying electricity to the gridplant cause more CO2 emissions than keeping it running?

According to this article from Reuters, it takes up to eight hours for a coal plant to reach maximum generation. This means that four up to eight hours after it starts up, the plant is burning coal at a lower efficiency (Btu/calorie per kWh) than what it's capable of during longer-term operation.

In lightthe U.S. cycling of coal plants is something that happens on a daily basis in some areas. The chart below (from the Energy Information Agency) shows power sources over an average day in the western U.S.:

enter image description here

For a huge area of the U.S., coal plants are reducing output for several hours each day. Presumably this involves turning off boilers or even whole plants.

This seems similar to the question on shutting off a car's engine at a stoplight. Could keeping a coal plant running, in some circumstances, result in less CO2 emissions than stopping and restarting it?

To figure that out, I'd need some data on how much coal a plant burns during shutdown and start up, and how much power is produced during this period, compared to how much coal is used to produce the same amount of power after it's been online for some time.


This question was prompted by the recent news that Britain just went a week without burning coal, I was doing some reading and found this interesting. There's also a good discussion over on skeptics.se fromabout a similar occurrence a few years ago: During Great Britain's coal-free day, were coal plants shut off, or active and generating power GB didn't use?

There were some good answers but ultimately no-one was able to come to a conclusion to my question here: How much coal do plants burn when they're not supplying electricity to the grid?

I assume when starting a plant it takes time for the fire to get hot enough to start generation, and similarly when shutting down the turbines, the coal in the burner will burn itself out (unless it's smothered). But how much coal is this?

Similar to the question on shutting off a car's engine at a stoplight, I'm wondering if keeping a coal plant running might, in some circumstances, result in less emissions than stopping and restarting it for the same amount of generation. But to know this, I'd need some data on how much coal is burnt when not generating.

How much coal do power plants burn when they're not supplying electricity to the grid?

In light of news that Britain just went a week without burning coal, I was doing some reading and found this interesting discussion over on skeptics.se from a similar occurrence a few years ago: During Great Britain's coal-free day, were coal plants shut off, or active and generating power GB didn't use?

There were some good answers but ultimately no-one was able to come to a conclusion to my question here: How much coal do plants burn when they're not supplying electricity to the grid?

I assume when starting a plant it takes time for the fire to get hot enough to start generation, and similarly when shutting down the turbines, the coal in the burner will burn itself out (unless it's smothered). But how much coal is this?

Similar to the question on shutting off a car's engine at a stoplight, I'm wondering if keeping a coal plant running might, in some circumstances, result in less emissions than stopping and restarting it for the same amount of generation. But to know this, I'd need some data on how much coal is burnt when not generating.

Does a short-term shut down of a coal plant cause more CO2 emissions than keeping it running?

According to this article from Reuters, it takes up to eight hours for a coal plant to reach maximum generation. This means that four up to eight hours after it starts up, the plant is burning coal at a lower efficiency (Btu/calorie per kWh) than what it's capable of during longer-term operation.

In the U.S. cycling of coal plants is something that happens on a daily basis in some areas. The chart below (from the Energy Information Agency) shows power sources over an average day in the western U.S.:

enter image description here

For a huge area of the U.S., coal plants are reducing output for several hours each day. Presumably this involves turning off boilers or even whole plants.

This seems similar to the question on shutting off a car's engine at a stoplight. Could keeping a coal plant running, in some circumstances, result in less CO2 emissions than stopping and restarting it?

To figure that out, I'd need some data on how much coal a plant burns during shutdown and start up, and how much power is produced during this period, compared to how much coal is used to produce the same amount of power after it's been online for some time.


This question was prompted by the recent news that Britain went a week without burning coal. There's also a good discussion over on skeptics.se about a similar occurrence a few years ago: During Great Britain's coal-free day, were coal plants shut off, or active and generating power GB didn't use?

1
source | link

How much coal do power plants burn when they're not supplying electricity to the grid?

In light of news that Britain just went a week without burning coal, I was doing some reading and found this interesting discussion over on skeptics.se from a similar occurrence a few years ago: During Great Britain's coal-free day, were coal plants shut off, or active and generating power GB didn't use?

There were some good answers but ultimately no-one was able to come to a conclusion to my question here: How much coal do plants burn when they're not supplying electricity to the grid?

I assume when starting a plant it takes time for the fire to get hot enough to start generation, and similarly when shutting down the turbines, the coal in the burner will burn itself out (unless it's smothered). But how much coal is this?

Similar to the question on shutting off a car's engine at a stoplight, I'm wondering if keeping a coal plant running might, in some circumstances, result in less emissions than stopping and restarting it for the same amount of generation. But to know this, I'd need some data on how much coal is burnt when not generating.