Rocas calientes

CANBERRA – Pregúntenle a cualquier ingeniero en sistemas de alimentación sobre energía renovable y probablemente dirá que no ofrece alimentación de “carga base”. En otras palabras, no se puede confiar en que la energía renovable suministre alimentación las 24 horas del día, los siete días de la semana: el viento no siempre hace girar las turbinas en la colina, el sol no puede brillar en las estaciones de energía solar de noche y hasta la hidroelectricidad puede escasear si no llueve.

El comportamiento inherentemente errático de las principales tecnologías de energía renovable presenta serios problemas para los planificadores de los sistemas de energía. La cantidad de estos tipos de energía renovable que pueden incorporarse de manera útil a las grillas de electricidad del mundo es limitada. Después de todo, los consumidores esperan que siempre haya energía.

La solución que ofrece la ingeniería es mantener una gran cantidad de energía confiable de carga base como un componente importante de la combinación energética y complementarla con “centrales para horas de mayor consumo” que se puedan poner en línea cuando surge la necesidad. En algunos países, esta capacidad para horas de mayor consumo se construye en base a sistemas hidroeléctricos, pero normalmente se basa en la quema de combustibles fósiles como gas, diesel o fuel-oil.  

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