The technologies and infrastructure for gas power generation are easily adapted to demand, allowing power plants to be turned up from idle to 100 per cent capacity more quickly than coal or nuclear power plants. Such adaptability makes gas power generation an essential partner to intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Partner for Renewables
As part of Europe's future energy mix, natural gas is the best partner for renewable energy sources. Offshore turbines are estimated to run 34 per cent to 43 per cent of the time and land wind turbines have proved to run even less frequently. International Energy Agency (IEA) research shows that in 2012 wind energy contributed just 6 per cent of the EU’s electricity consumption.
For this reason, wind turbines require back up, and gas-fired power is the most attractive option in terms of adaptability, cost and impact on the environment to complement renewable energy. Gas-fired power stations are quicker and cheaper to build versus coal and nuclear plants, and provide the flexibility to complement renewables, taking only 10 minutes to reach full capacity for power generation when necessary.
According to a study from MIT, "Natural gas-fired power capacity will play an increasingly important role in providing backup to growing supplies of intermittent renewable energy, in the absence of a breakthrough that provides affordable utility-scale storage."