One criticism of wind and solar power is their lack of reliability. Both depend on the weather for energy production and any change in weather affects their ability to produce electricity. In many regions, wind has the added liability of producing power when it is least needed. To solve this challenge, some suggest pairing standby generators with wind and solar farms so continuous power can be produced. Under this scheme, proponents argue that standby generators should be capable of varying its output to assure continuous energy production.

Varying output is called load following or turn down. The physical objective is to throttle back power generation to response to changing demands. The financial objective is to turn down without increasing fuel consumption on a unit basis. The environmental objective is to minimize air pollution, specifically carbon. Keep reading →