The supposed need for ‘baseload power’ is not a need for coal. Some even challenge the notion itself, when interpreted as 'fixed generation capacity'. The CEO of National Grid, the company that operates the grid in the UK and in North Eastern USA, recently said
"The idea of baseload power is already outdated. ... From a consumer’s point of view, the solar on the rooftop is going to be the baseload. Centralised power stations will be increasingly used to provide peak demand”.
Reliable power can be provided by renewables, storage and demand management. The price of storage is falling fast - including batteries, molten salt storage with solar thermal, or pumped hydro storage – and many analysts see this as game-changing for existing energy systems. Energy efficiency and demand management are just as important in designing a clean, cost-effective system. There are also proposals for using excess renewable electricity to make carbon-neutral fuel.