"A power plant with a silo can run on a low level if necessary. It can be powered down to 10 percent of its maximum output, a function that's impossible for plants without a silo. Even the most modern conventional facilities can go no lower than 35 percent of maximum performance. Operating at a capacity any less than that requires laboriously keeping the combustion going by burning oil or gas -- an option that's far too expensive.
Silos for storing coal dust represent just one of several new technologies that are helping coal-fired power plants shape up for the transition to renewable energy. Time is short. Germany's environmental revolution will mean major upheavals for coal plant operators, and the new electricity supply system will subject them to grim competition."
This is a big issue, especially at night, when most power generated is completely wasted. The power plants have to keep running at a minimum level - they cannot be shut down and turned back on quickly or easily - so if the power is not contemporaneously used, it is wasted. The amounts wasted on any given night (or day) can be huge. This simple technology could have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions, coal depletion rates, and transitioning to a green energy paradigm.
It's good to see movement in the right direction. – Wes