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

“These plants were designed to run at, or near, full capacity,” Mick Spencer, a plant manager for Nebraska Public Power District, which operates the Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland, Nebraska. “We aren’t doing that much anymore.”

Increasing and decreasing output more frequently “does add a bit to wearing things down,” he said. “You’re moving valves and parts more than you did. You have to be aware of the long term impact” of changing temperatures on steel.