I've heard the layman's description of electrical grid response time before - it usually contains the word "instant" or "real-time". But I'm interested in the actual response times of the various types of power generation.
My limited ability to research has led me to articles on the three major "layers" of power generation: base load generation, load following generation, and peaking generation. I understand the high level difference between the three generation types, and roughly the kinds of plants that fulfill them. It seems that fuels like nuclear or coal serve the base load because they have slow response times. And on the other end of the spectrum, fuels like natural gas serve the peak load because the generation systems can be set up for fast response times.
That high level information has been easy to find, but I'm having trouble finding actual numbers. These are the only numbers I have so far:
- Base load coal plants coal can take many hours to start up.
- Peaking plants like hydro batteries can start up in tens of seconds, and simple cycle gas turbines can start up in tens of minutes.
But I feel like "start up time" is very different from response time, and I can't find any data on that. But maybe I'm working with bad assumptions - do these plants actually need to respond to instantaneous changes in load after they've started up?
If yes, which plants handle that kind of response, and how fast do they react?
Electrical engineering and power systems are quite far from my day job, so I'm not very good at constructing queries to answer my questions. Apologies if this has a trivial answer sitting somewhere else.