MUST BURN COAL! 24/7!
I've been in communication with someone who appears very convinced that solar power won't reduce greenhouse gas emissions because coal power plants HAVE TO run at full capacity 24/7. I explained that, according to my admittedly limited knowledge of combustion, if you stop putting coal inside a coal power plant it will shut down, but he still seemed rather insistent that this wasn't possible. I'm afraid that he might have stumbled upon the horrible truth:
PLANT MANAGER: Terrible news! During the night someone installed 20 gigawatts of solar panels! It's an absolute disaster ! Fifteen minute spot prices are now below our marginal operating costs!
CHIEF ENGINEER: What? You mean electricity prices are now less than what the coal we're burning is worth? I guess we have no choice but to power down.
PLANT MANAGER: Power down? What do you mean, power down? Are you crazy! It's not one of his appointed holy days of maintenance!
CHIEF ENGINEER: What are you talking about?
PLANT MANAGER: You know exactly what I'm talking about!
CHIEF ENGINEER: You don't mean the stories the night shift workers whisper in the dark are true do you?
PLANT MANAGER: Every word!
CHIEF ENGINEER: So, if we don't... He...
PLANT MANAGER: Yes! If we don't keep the turbines operating at near maximum capacity, Gilgamax will arise and feast upon the carbon of the living! We have no choice but to keep this plant operating at full capacity and dump the surplus electricity into the grid and use it as a huge resistor! It will blow out every mains connected electrical device within ten klicks, but if we don't do it, those poor fools out there will loose a lot more than just TV and refrigeration!
CHIEF ENGINEER: Okay, I'm with you. I'll do it. I just pray to god it works. And I pray that he'll forgive those damn fools and their solar power! When will they ever learn!