In today’s electricity system with low natural gas prices, negligible demand growth, and the proliferation of efficient natural gas-fired generation and renewable generation, “baseload” power plants like coal and nuclear are earning less market revenue than before. This report sheds light on why coal and nuclear plants have become less economical, why their ability to produce power continuously throughout most of the year is less essential in today’s supply mix, and why operational flexibility is an increasingly important ingredient for a cost-effective supply of electricity. Overall, this report explains that the use of the term “baseload” generation is no longer helpful for purposes of planning and operating today’s electricity system.

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Advancing Past 'Baseload' to a Flexible Grid