Study Documents Coal’s Value for Baseload Power

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Mining Association (NMA) today hailed a new report documenting the value of coal for ensuring the reliability and resiliency of the national power grid.

The report, “The Contribution of the Coal Fleet to America’s Electricity Grid,” was prepared by PA Consulting Group for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), and documents the attributes of coal that are essential for baseload power reliability. Qualities including dispatchability, on-site fuel, voltage control and contingency reserves, concludes the report, serve the grid as a valuable hedge against weather events, price surges from energy sources and other disruptions that reduce associated risks.

The report, released yesterday, also found that over the past five years, coal-fueled power plants stockpiled an average of 82 days of bituminous coal and 73 days of subbituminous coal on site, eliminating the need for pipelines and transmission grids to deliver fuel when needed. As a result of the added security coal offers, the study advised that “retaining existing coal-fueled power plants can help insulate ratepayers against rising and possibly volatile natural gas prices.”

The report holds value for policymakers, as it underscores the Department of Energy’s concerns about grid reliability following the substantial retirements of coal based power plants and the reduced fuel diversity now available for electricity generation.