Cost of electricity by source

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

  (Redirected from Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the price of electricity, see Electricity pricing.
Example of a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) comparison for some newly built renewable and fossil-fuel based power stations in Germany, 2013. Cost given in euro per kilowatt-hour.
Note: employed technologies and LCOE differ by country and change over time.

The cost of electricity (typically cents/kWh, euro/kWh, euro or $/MWh) generated by different sources is a calculation of the cost of generating electricity at the point of connection to a load or electricity grid. It includes the initial capital, discount rate, as well as the costs of continuous operation, fuel, and maintenance. This type of calculation assists policy makers, researchers and others to guide discussions and decision making.

Cost factors[edit]

While calculating costs, several internal cost factors have to be considered.[1] (Note the use of "costs," which is not the actual selling price, since this can be affected by a variety of factors such as subsidies and taxes):

To evaluate the total cost of production of electricity, the streams of costs are converted to a net present value using the time value of money. These costs are all brought together using discounted cash flow.[2][3]

Levelized Cost of Energy[edit]

Levelized Energy Cost (LEC, also known as Levelized Cost of Energy, abbreviated as LCOE[4]) is the price at which electricity must be generated from a specific source to break even over the lifetime of the project. It is an economic assessment of the cost of the energy-generating system including all the costs over its lifetime: initial investment, operations and maintenance, cost of fuel, cost of capital, and is very useful in calculating the costs of generation from different sources.

It can be defined in a single formula as:[5]

 \mathrm{LEC} = \frac{\sum_{t=1}^{n} \frac{ I_t + M_t + F_t}{\left({1+r}\right)^t} }{\sum_{t=1}^{n} \frac{E_t}{\left({1+r}\right)^{t}} }


Typically LECs are calculated over 20 to 40 year lifetimes, and are given in the units of currency per kilowatt-hour, for example AUD/kWh or EUR/kWh or per megawatt-hour, for example AUD/MWh (as tabulated below).[6] However, care should be taken in comparing different LCOE studies and the sources of the information as the LCOE for a given energy source is highly dependent on the assumptions, financing terms and technological deployment analyzed.[6] In particular, assumption of capacity factor has significant impact on the calculation of LCOE. For example, Solar PV may have a capacity factor as low as 10% depending on location. Thus, a key requirement for the analysis is a clear statement of the applicability of the analysis based on justified assumptions.[7]

Paul Joskow of MIT has determined that the "Levelized cost of electricity"(LCOE) metric is a poor means of comparing electricity sources as it hides the extra costs, such as the need to frequently operate back up power stations, incurred due to the use of intermittent power sources such as wind energy, while the value of baseload power sources are underpresented.[8] Nevertheless, it is widely used.

System boundaries[edit]

When comparing LECs for alternative systems, it is very important to define the boundaries of the 'system' and the costs that are included in it. For example, should transmissions lines and distribution systems be included in the cost? Typically only the costs of connecting the generating source into the transmission system is included as a cost of the generator. But in some cases wholesale upgrade of the Grid is needed. Careful thought has to be given to whether or not these costs should be included in the cost of power.

Should R&D, tax, and environmental impact studies be included? Should the costs of impacts on public health and environmental damage be included? Should the costs of government subsidies be included in the calculated LEC?

Discount rate[edit]

Another key issue is the decision about the value of the discount rate r. The value that is chosen for r can often 'weigh' the decision towards one option or another, so the basis for choosing the discount must clearly be carefully evaluated. See internal rate of return. A UK government study in 2011 concluded that the appropriate discount rate to analyse UK government programs was not the actual cost of capital, but 3.5%.[9]

Marginal cost of electricity[edit]

A more telling economic assessment might be the marginal cost of electricity. This value would serve the purpose of comparing the added cost of increasing electricity generation by one unit from different sources of electricity generation (see Merit Order).[citation needed]

Avoided cost[edit]

The US Energy Information Administration has cautioned that levelized costs of non-dispatchable sources such as wind or solar should be compared to the avoided energy cost rather than the levelized cost of dispatchable sources such as fossil fuels or geothermal. This is because introduction of fluctuating power sources may or may not avoid capital and maintenance costs of backup dispatchable sources.[10]

External costs of energy sources[edit]

Typically pricing of electricity from various energy sources may not include all external costs - that is, the costs indirectly borne by society as a whole as a consequence of using that energy source.[11] These may include enabling costs, environmental impacts, usage lifespans, energy storage, recycling costs, or beyond-insurance accident effects.

The US Energy Information Administration predicts that coal and gas are set to be continually used to deliver the majority of the world's electricity,[12] this is expected to result in the evacuation of millions of homes in low lying areas, and an annual cost of hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of property damage.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

Furthermore, with a number of island nations becoming slowly submerged underwater due to rising sea levels,[20] massive international climate litigation lawsuits against fossil fuel users are currently[when?] beginning in the International Court of Justice.[21][22]

An EU funded research study known as ExternE, or Externalities of Energy, undertaken over the period of 1995 to 2005 found that the cost of producing electricity from coal or oil would double over its present value, and the cost of electricity production from gas would increase by 30% if external costs such as damage to the environment and to human health, from the particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, chromium VI, river water alkalinity, mercury poisoning and arsenic emissions produced by these sources, were taken into account. It was estimated in the study that these external, downstream, fossil fuel costs amount up to 1%-2% of the EU’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and this was before the external cost of global warming from these sources was even included.[23][24] Coal has the highest external cost in the EU, and global warming is the largest part of that cost.[11]

Nuclear power has largely worked under an insurance framework that limits or structures accident liabilities in accordance with the Paris convention on nuclear third-party liability, the Brussels supplementary convention, and the Vienna convention on civil liability for nuclear damage[25] and in the U.S. the Price-Anderson Act. It is often argued that this potential shortfall in liability represents an external cost not included in the cost of nuclear electricity; but the cost is small, amounting to about 0.1% of the levelized cost of electricity, according to a CBO study.[26]

These beyond-insurance costs for worst-case scenarios are not unique to nuclear power, as hydroelectric power plants are similarly not fully insured against a catastrophic event such as the Banqiao Dam disaster, where 11 million people lost their homes and from 30,000 to 200,000 people died, or large dam failures in general. As private insurers base dam insurance premiums on limited scenarios, major disaster insurance in this sector is likewise provided by the state.[27] Also of note is that more modern reactors than those of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant vintage, such as the proven Onagawa nuclear plant design,[28] demonstrated that it can survive 13 meter high tsunamis and safely shut down without incident, despite being the closest nuclear plant to the epicenter of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.[28]

Additional cost factors[edit]

Calculations often do not include wider system costs associated with each type of plant, such as long distance transmission connections to grids, or balancing and reserve costs. Calculations do not include externalities such as health damage by coal plants, nor the effect of CO2 emissions on the climate change, ocean acidification and eutrophication, ocean current shifts. Decommissioning costs of nuclear plants are usually not included (The USA is an exception, because the cost of decommissioning is included in the price of electricity, per the Nuclear Waste Policy Act), is therefore not full cost accounting. These types of items can be explicitly added as necessary depending on the purpose of the calculation. It has little relation to actual price of power, but assists policy makers and others to guide discussions and decision making.[citation needed]

These are not minor factors but very significantly affect all responsible power decisions:


US Department of Energy estimates[edit]

The tables below list the estimated cost of electricity by source for plants entering service in 2018. The tables are from a January 2014 report of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) called "Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014".[30]

"a 3-percentage point increase in the cost of capital is added when evaluating investments in greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive technologies like coal-fired power and coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants without carbon control and sequestration (CCS). While the 3-percentage point adjustment is somewhat arbitrary, in levelized cost terms its impact is similar to that of a $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fee. ... As a result, the levelized capital costs of coal-fired plants without CCS are higher than would otherwise be expected."[31]

No tax credits or incentives are incorporated in the tables. From the EIA report (emphasis added):

"Levelized cost ... represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating levelized costs include overnight capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type/. ... The availability of various incentives, including state or federal tax credits, can also impact the calculation of levelized cost. The values shown in the tables in this discussion do not incorporate any such incentives."[30]

All generating types are assumed to have the same 30-year cost recovery period, regardless of the expected lifetime of the plant. From the EIA report:

"The levelized cost shown for each utility-scale generation technology in the tables in this discussion are calculated based on a 30-year cost recovery period, using a real after tax weighted average cost of capital (WACC) of 6.6 percent. I"[30]

Incentives, tax credits, production mandates, etc. are discussed in the overall comprehensive EIA report: "Annual Energy Outlook 2012".[32][33][34]

Photovoltaics (solar PV) can be used both by distributed residential or commercial users and utility scale power plants. The costs shown are for utility scale photovoltaic power plants.[35]

Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2019[31]
U.S. Average Levelized Cost for Plants Entering Service in 2019
(2012 USD/MWh)
Plant TypeCapacity
Conventional Coal8560.
Integrated Coal-Gassification Combined Cycle (IGCC8576.16.931.71.2115.9
IGCC with CCS8597.89.838.61.2147.4
Natural Gas Fired
NG: Conventional Combined Cycle8714.31.749.11.266.3
NG: Advanced Combined Cycle8715.
NG: Advanced CC with CCS8730.
NG: Conventional Combustion Turbine3040.22.882.03.4128.4
NG: Advanced Combustion Turbine3027.32.770.33.4103.8
Advanced Nuclear9071.411.811.81.196.1
Wind - Offshore137175.422.80.05.8204.1
Solar PV1,225114.511.40.04.1130.0
Solar Thermal120195.
1Non-dispatchable (Hydro is dispatchable within a season, but nondispatchable overall-limited by site and season)
2Costs are expressed in terms of net AC power available to the grid for the installed capacity
Regional Variation in Levelized Costs of New Generation Resources, 2019[32]
Plant TypeRange for Total System Levelized Costs
(2010 USD/MWh)
Conventional Coal87.095.6114.4
IGCC with CCS137.3147.4163.3
Natural Gas Fired
Conventional Combined Cycle61.166.375.8
Advanced Combined Cycle59.664.473.6
Advanced CC with CCS85.591.3105.0
Conventional Combustion Turbine106.0128.4149.4
Advanced Combustion Turbine96.9103.8119.8
Advanced Nuclear92.696.1102.0
Solar PV101.4130.0200.9
Solar Thermal176.8243.1388.0

OpenEI Database[edit]

OpenEI, sponsored jointly by the US DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has compiled a historical cost-of-generation database[37] covering a wide variety of generation sources. Because the data is open source it may be subject to frequent revision.

OpenEI Transparent Cost Database
Plant TypeLevelized Cost of
Energy (USD/MWh)
Capital Cost
Operating Cost
Operating Cost
Factor (%)
Wind, onshore12060202.601.571.1360.0010.9510.95236.455.0250.43818.4
Wind, offshore200100708.003.052.1618014.2814.284021.1813544327
Solar PV5902801509.505.102.5011032.036.44000282115.48
Solar CSP300200608.095.743.2014255.727.8025.50.10.106531.1621.84
Geothermal Hydrothermal14060405.942.821.63229155.4168.33000958575
Blind Geothermal1006.85222.9800095
Enhanced Geothermal130130607.257.001.78199.69199.69134.05403059584.680
Small Hydropower1404.5013000050
Distributed Generation480140509.801.801.318016.5816.03517.377.1275
Fuel Cell1501501407.004.643.808505.655.5047.9247.925.7895
Natural Gas Combined Cycle7050101.680.880.5145.6013.715.508.092.861.299384.640
Natural Gas Combustion Turbine11070608.095.743.2014.5210.535.2629.903.572.67928010
Coal, pulverized, scrubbed12050108.401.920.5633.6027.5013.085.903.701.629384.680
Coal, pulverized, unscrubbed4040405.014.453.9484.6
Coal, integrated gasification
combined cycle

Germany 2013 estimates[edit]

In November 2013, a new report on Germany levelised generation costs was published by FRAUNHOFER.[38] PV power plants reached LCOE between 0.078 and 0.142 Euro/kWh in the third quarter of 2013, depending on the type of power plant (ground-mounted utility-scale or small rooftop power plant) and insolation (1000 to 1200 kWh/m²a GHI in Germany). New nuclear power is not considered as an option anymore.

Germany energy costs for different generation technologies in EUR per megawatt hour (2013)
TechnologyCost range (EUR/MWh)
brown coal38-53
hard coal63–80
CCGT power plants75-98
onshore wind45-107
offshore wind119–194
PV power plants78-142

UK 2010 estimates[edit]

In March 2010, a new report on UK levelised generation costs was published by Parsons Brinckerhoff.[39] It puts a range on each cost due to various uncertainties. Combined cycle gas turbines without CO2 capture are not directly comparable to the other low carbon emission generation technologies in the BP study. The assumptions used in this study are given in the report.

UK energy costs for different generation technologies in pounds per megawatt hour (2010)
TechnologyCost range (£/MWh)[citation needed]
Natural gas turbine, no CO2 capture55 – 110
Natural gas turbines with CO2 capture60 – 130
Biomass60 – 120
New nuclear80 – 105 (92.50 guaranteed from 2023[40][41])
Onshore wind80 – 110
Coal with CO2 capture100 – 155
Solar farms125 – 180
Offshore wind150 – 210
Tidal power155 – 390

Divide the above figures by 1000 to obtain the price in pounds per kilowatt-hour.

More recent UK estimates are the Mott MacDonald study released by DECC in June 2010 [42] and the Arup study for DECC published in 2011.[43]

French 2011 estimates[edit]

The International Agency for the Energy and EDF have estimated for 2011 the following costs. For the nuclear power they include the costs due to new safety investments to upgrade the French nuclear plant after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster; the cost for those investments is estimated at 4 €/MWh. Concerning the solar power the estimate at 293 €/MWh is for a large plant capable to produce in the range of 50-100 GWh/year located in a favorable location (such as in Southern Europe). For a small household plant capable to produce typically around 3 MWh/year the cost is according to the location between 400 and 700 €/MWh. Currently solar power is by far the most expensive renewable source to produce electricity, although increasing efficiency and longer lifespan of photovoltaic panels together with reduced production costs could make this source of energy more competitive.

French energy costs for different generation technologies in Euros per megawatt hour (2011)
TechnologyCost (€/MWh)
Hydro power20
Nuclear (with State-covered insurance costs)50
Natural gas turbines without CO2 capture61
Onshore wind69
Solar farms293

Analysis from different sources[edit]

Conventional oil Unconventional oil Biofuels Coal Nuclear Wind
Colored vertical lines indicate various historical oil prices. From left to right:
1990s average January 2009 1979 peak 2008 peak

Price of oil per barrel (bbl) at which energy sources are competitive.

  • Right end of bar is viability without subsidy.
  • Left end of bar requires regulation or government subsidies.
  • Wider bars indicate uncertainty.
Source: Financial Times (edit)

A draft report of LECs used by the California Energy Commission is available.[44] From this report, the price per MWh for a municipal energy source is shown here:

California levelized energy costs for different generation technologies in US dollars per megawatt hour (2007)
TechnologyCost (US$/MWh)
Advanced Nuclear067  67
Coal074  74–88
Gas087  87–346
Geothermal067  67
Hydro power048  48–86
Wind power060  60
Solar116  116–312
Biomass047  47–117
Fuel Cell086  86–111
Wave Power611  611

Note that the above figures incorporate tax breaks for the various forms of power plants. Subsidies range from 0% (for Coal) to 14% (for nuclear) to over 100% (for solar).

The following table gives a selection of LECs from two major government reports from Australia.[45][46] Note that these LECs do not include any cost for the greenhouse gas emissions (such as under carbon tax or emissions trading scenarios) associated with the different technologies.

Levelised energy costs for different generation technologies in Australian dollars per megawatt hour (2006)
TechnologyCost (AUD/MWh)
Nuclear (to COTS plan)[46]040  40–70
Nuclear (to suit site; typical)[46]040  75–105
Coal028  28–38
Coal: IGCC + CCS053  53–98
Coal: supercritical pulverized + CCS064  64–106
Open-cycle Gas Turbine101  101
Hot fractured rocks089  89
Gas: combined cycle037  37–54
Gas: combined cycle + CCS053  53–93
Small Hydro power055  55
Wind power: high capacity factor055  63
Solar thermal085  85
Biomass088  88
Photovoltaics120  120
Nuke, coal, gas generating costs.png

In 1997 the Trade Association for Wind Turbines (Wirtschaftsverband Windkraftwerke e.V. –WVW) ordered  a study into the costs of electricity production in newly constructed conventional power plants from the Rheinisch-Westfälischen Institute for Economic Research –RWI). The RWI predicted costs of electricity production per kWh for the basic load for the year 2010 as follows:[citation needed]

FuelCost per kilowatt hour in euro cents.
Nuclear Power10.7 €ct – 12.4 €ct
Brown Coal (Lignite)8.8 €ct – 9.7 €ct
Black Coal (Bituminous)10.4 €ct – 10.7 €ct
Natural gas11.8 €ct – 10.6 €ct.

The part of a base load represents approx. 64% of the electricity production in total. The costs of electricity production for the mid-load and peak load are considerably higher. There is a mean value for the costs of electricity production for all kinds of conventional electricity production and load profiles in 2010 which is 10.9 €ct to 11.4 €ct per kWh. The RWI calculated this on the assumption that the costs of energy production would depend on the price development of crude oil and that the price of crude oil would be approx. 23 US$ per barrel in 2010. In fact the crude oil price is about 80 US$ in the beginning of 2010. This means that the effective costs of conventional electricity production still need to be higher than estimated by the RWI in the past.

The WVW takes the legislative feed-in-tariff as basis for the costs of electricity production out of renewable energies because renewable power plants are economically feasible under the German law (German Renewable Energy Sources Act-EEG).

The following figures arise for the costs of electricity production in newly constructed power plants in 2010:[citation needed]

Energy sourceCosts of electricity production in euros per megawatt hour
Nuclear Energy107.0 – 124.0
Brown Coal88.0 –   97.0
Black Coal104.0 – 107.0
Domestic Gas106.0 – 118.0
Wind Energy Onshore49.7 –   96.1
Wind Energy Offshore35.0 – 150.0
Hydropower34.7 – 126.7
Biomass77.1 – 115.5
Solar Electricity284.3 – 391.4

OECD/NEA Estimates for the United States[edit]

Estimated Grid-Level Systems Cost, 2013 (USD/MWh)[47]
TechnologyNuclearCoalGasOnshore WindOffshore WindSolar
Penetration Level10%30%10%30%10%30%10%30%10%30%10%30%
Backup costs (adequacy)
Balancing costs0.
Grid connection1.561.561.031.030.510.516.506.5015.2415.2410.0510.05
Grid reinforcement & extension0.
Total Grid-level System Costs1.721.671.071.070.510.5116.3019.8420.5128.2614.8228.27

The estimated figures on grid-level systems costs published by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency in 2012,[47] have been criticized for its adequacy and used methodology.[48][49] Swedish KTH in Stockholm published a report in response, finding "several question marks concerning the calculation methods".[50] While the grid-level systems costs in the 2012 OECD-NEA report is calculated to be $17.70 per MWh for 10% onshore wind in Finland, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology concludes in their analysis, that these costs are rather $0 to $3.70 per MWh, as they are either comparatively small or already included in the market.[51]

Other estimates[edit]

A 2010 study by the Japanese government (pre-Fukushima disaster), called the Energy White Paper, concluded the cost for kilowatt hour was ¥49 for solar, ¥10 to ¥14 for wind, and ¥5 or ¥6 for nuclear power. Masayoshi Son, an advocate for renewable energy, however, has pointed out that the government estimates for nuclear power did not include the costs for reprocessing the fuel or disaster insurance liability. Son estimated that if these costs were included, the cost of nuclear power was about the same as wind power.[52][53][54]

In 2014, Brookings Institute published The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies which states, after performing an energy and emissions cost analysis, that "The net benefits of new nuclear, hydro, and natural gas combined cycle plants far outweigh the net benefits of new wind or solar plants", with the most cost effective low carbon power technology being determined to be nuclear power.[55][56]

The Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland commissioned a former Director of Operations of the British National Grid, Colin Gibson, to produce a report on generation levelised costs that for the first time would include some of the transmission costs as well as the generation costs. This was published in December 2011 and is available on the internet :.[57] The institution seeks to encourage debate of the issue, and has taken the unusual step among compilers of such studies of publishing a spreadsheet showing its data available on the internet :[58]

Longterm trends[edit]


Projected levelised cost of solar PV generation per kWh in Europe.[59]
Price history of silicon PV cells since 1977

Photovoltaic prices have fallen from $76.67 per watt in 1977 to an estimated $0.36 per watt in 2014, for crystalline silicon solar cells.[60][61] This is seen as evidence supporting Swanson's law, an observation similar to the famous Moore's Law, that states that solar cell prices fall 20% for every doubling of industry capacity.

However, cost per watt is a poor way to compare actual life-cycle costs of energy sources, as explained above.

By 2011, the price of PV modules per MW had fallen by 60% since 2008, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates, putting solar power for the first time on a competitive footing with the retail price of electricity in some sunny countries; an alternative and consistent price decline figure of 75% from 2007 to 2012 has also been published,[62] though it is unclear whether these figures are specific to the United States or generally global. The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from PV is competitive with conventional electricity sources in an expanding list of geographic regions,[6] particularly when the time of generation is included, as electricity is worth more during the day than at night.[63] There has been fierce competition in the supply chain, and further improvements in the levelised cost of energy for solar lie ahead, posing a growing threat to the dominance of fossil fuel generation sources in the next few years.[64] As time progresses, renewable energy technologies generally get cheaper,[65][66] while fossil fuels generally get more expensive:

The less solar power costs, the more favorably it compares to conventional power, and the more attractive it becomes to utilities and energy users around the globe. Utility-scale solar power can now be delivered in California at prices well below $100/MWh ($0.10/kWh) less than most other peak generators, even those running on low-cost natural gas. Lower solar module costs also stimulate demand from consumer markets where the cost of solar compares very favorably to retail electric rates.[67]

It is now evident that, given a carbon price of $50/ton, which would raise the price of coal-fired power by 5c/kWh, solar PV, Wind, and Nuclear will be cost-competitive in most locations. The declining price of PV has been reflected in rapidly growing installations, totaling about 23 GW in 2011. Although some consolidation is likely in 2012, due to support cuts in the large markets of Germany and Italy, strong growth seems likely to continue for the rest of the decade. Already, by one estimate, total investment in renewables for 2011 exceeded investment in carbon-based electricity generation.[68]

In the case of self consumption, payback time is calculated based on how much electricity is not brought from the grid. Additionally, using PV solar power to charge DC batteries, as used in Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicles, leads to greater efficiencies, but higher costs. Traditionally, DC generated electricity from solar PV must be converted to AC for buildings, at an average 10% loss during the conversion. An additional efficiency loss occurs in the transition back to DC for battery driven devices and vehicles, and using various interest rates and energy price changes were calculated to find present values that range from $2,057.13 to $8,213.64 (analysis from 2009).[69]

Wind power[edit]

Estimated cost per MWh for wind power in Denmark
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory projects that the levelized cost of wind power in the U.S. will decline about 25% from 2012 to 2030.[70]
A turbine blade convoy passing through Edenfield in the U.K. (2008). Even longer two-piece blades are now manufactured, and then assembled on-site to reduce difficulties in transportation.

In 2004, wind energy cost a fifth of what it did in the 1980s, and some expected that downward trend to continue as larger multi-megawatt turbines were mass-produced.[71] As of 2012 capital costs for wind turbines are substantially lower than 2008–2010 but are still above 2002 levels.[72] A 2011 report from the American Wind Energy Association stated, "Wind's costs have dropped over the past two years, in the range of 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour recently.... about 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electricity, and more projects were financed through debt arrangements than tax equity structures last year.... winning more mainstream acceptance from Wall Street's banks.... Equipment makers can also deliver products in the same year that they are ordered instead of waiting up to three years as was the case in previous cycles.... 5,600 MW of new installed capacity is under construction in the United States, more than double the number at this point in 2010. Thirty-five percent of all new power generation built in the United States since 2005 has come from wind, more than new gas and coal plants combined, as power providers are increasingly enticed to wind as a convenient hedge against unpredictable commodity price moves."[73]

This cost has additionally reduced as wind turbine technology has improved. There are now longer and lighter wind turbine blades, improvements in turbine performance and increased power generation efficiency. Also, wind project capital and maintenance costs have continued to decline.[74] For example, the wind industry in the USA is now[when?] able to produce more power at lower cost by using taller wind turbines with longer blades, capturing the faster winds at higher elevations. This has opened up new opportunities and in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The price of power from wind turbines built 300 feet to 400 feet above the ground can now compete with conventional fossil fuels like coal. Prices have fallen to about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour in some cases and utilities have been increasing the amount of wind energy in their portfolio, saying it is their cheapest option.[75]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ A Review of Electricity Unit Cost Estimates Working Paper, December 2006 - Updated May 2007
  2. ^ "Cost of wind, nuclear and gas powered generation in the UK". Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  3. ^ "David Millborrows paper on wind costs". Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  4. ^ LCOE definition on NREL website [1]
  5. ^ Nuclear Energy Agency/International Energy Agency/Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Projected Costs of Generating Electricity (2005 Update)
  6. ^ a b c K. Branker, M. J.M. Pathak, J. M. Pearce, “A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity”, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 15, pp.4470-4482 (2011). Open access
  7. ^ A recent review on the subject stating reporting requirements and clearing up misconceptions about inputs : A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15, pp.4470-4482 (2011)
  8. ^ Comparing the Costs of Intermittent and Dispatchable Electricity-Generating Technologies", by Paul Joskow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, September 2011
  9. ^ The Green Book Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government pp. 26, 97
  10. ^ US Energy Information Administration, Levelized cost of new generation resources, 28 January 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Subsidies and costs of EU energy. Project number: DESNL14583" Pages: 52. EcoFys, 10 October 2014. Accessed: 20 October 2014. Size: 70 pages in 2MB.
  12. ^ International Energy Outlook: Electricity "Although coal-fired generation increases by an annual average of only 1.9 percent, it remains the largest source of electricity generation through 2035. In 2008, coal-fired generation accounted for 40 percent of world electricity supply; in 2035, its share decreases to 37 percent, as renewables, natural gas, and nuclear power all are expected to advance strongly during the projection and displace the need for coal-fired-generation in many parts of the world. World net coal-fired generation grows by 67 percent, from 7.7 trillion kilowatthours in 2008 to 12.9 trillion kilowatthours in 2035."
  13. ^ The economic impact of global warming
  14. ^ Climate change threatens Australia's coastal lifestyle, report warns | Environment | The Guardian
  15. ^ Tufts Civil Engineer Predicts Boston’s Rising Sea Levels Could Cause Billions Of Dollars In Damage
  16. ^ Rising Sea Levels' cost on Boston
  17. ^ Tufts University slide 28, note projected Bangladesh evacuation
  18. ^ The Hidden costs of Fossil fuels
  19. ^ Rising Sea Level
  20. ^ Five nations under threat from climate change
  21. ^ Tiny Pacific nation takes on Australia
  22. ^ See you in court: the rising tide of international climate litigation
  23. ^ New research reveals the real costs of electricity in Europe
  24. ^ ExternE-Pol, External costs of current and advanced electricity systems, associated with emissions from the operation of power plants and with the rest of the energy chain, final technical report. See figure 9, 9b and figure 11
  25. ^ Publications: Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. International Atomic Energy Agency.
  26. ^ Nuclear Power's Role in Generating Electricity Congressional Budget Office, May 2008.
  27. ^ Availability of Dam Insurance 1999
  28. ^ a b "Japanese nuclear plant survived tsunami, offers clues". Reuters. 20 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "New Harvard Study Examines Cost of Coal". Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  30. ^ a b c [2] Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014]. Released April, 2014. Report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
  31. ^ a b [3] Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2013]. Released January, 2013. Report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
  32. ^ a b Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2012. June 2012, DOE/EIA-0383(2012).
  33. ^ Assumptions to the Annual Energy Outlook 2011. U.S. Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy.
  34. ^ Appendix A: Handling of Federal and Selected State Legislation and Regulation in the Annual Energy Outlook. US Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy.
  35. ^ Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011. Released January 23, 2012. Report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
  36. ^
  37. ^ OpenEI Transparent Cost Database. Accessed 09/02/2013.
  38. ^ "Levelized cost of electricity renewable energy technologies". FRAUNHOFER. 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "Powering the Nation". Parsons Brinckerhoff. 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  40. ^ "UK nuclear power plant gets go-ahead". BBC News. 21 October 2013. 
  41. ^ Roland Gribben and Denise Roland (21 October 2013). "Hinkley Point nuclear power plant to create 25,000 jobs, says Cameron". London: Daily Telegraph. 
  42. ^ "Mott MacDonald study released by DECC in June 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  43. ^ Ove Arup & Partners Ltd (October 2011). "Review of the generation costs and deployment potential of renewable electricity technologies in the UK" (PDF). London: Department of Energy and Climate Change. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  44. ^ "Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation Technologies" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  45. ^ Graham, P. The heat is on: the future of energy in Australia CSIRO, 2006
  46. ^ a b c Switkowski, Z. Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review UMPNER taskforce, Australian Government, 2006
  47. ^ a b "System effects in low carbon energy systems". OECD, NEA. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  48. ^ - Nuclear and renewables: back-up and grid costs
  49. ^ VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland - Note for wind energy grid level system costs published by NEA 2012 report
  50. ^ [4]
  51. ^ Nuclear Energy and Renewables: System Effects in Low‐carbon Electricity Systems - Method comments to a NEA report, p. 24
  52. ^ Johnston, Eric, "Son's quest for sun, wind has nuclear interests wary", Japan Times, 12 July 2011, p. 3.
  53. ^ Bird, Winifred, "Powering Japan's future", Japan Times, 24 July 2011, p. 7.
  54. ^ Johnston, Eric, "Current nuclear debate to set nation's course for decades", Japan Times, 23 September 2011, p. 1.
  55. ^ Economist magazine article "Sun, wind and drain Wind and solar power are even more expensive than is commonly thought Jul 26th 2014"
  57. ^ "Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland report" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  58. ^ "Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland data". Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  59. ^ Source:EPIA, Solar Photovoltaics Competing in the Energy Sector, W. Hoffmann, September 2011 [5]
  60. ^ "Price Quotes". Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  61. ^ "Sunny Uplands: Alternative energy will no longer be alternative". The Economist. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  62. ^ Ken Wells (October 25, 2012), "Solar Energy Is Ready. The U.S. Isn't", Bloomberg Businessweek,, retrieved November 1, 2012 
  63. ^ Utilities’ Honest Assessment of Solar in the Electricity Supply
  64. ^ "Renewables Investment Breaks Records". Renewable Energy World. 29 August 2011. 
  65. ^ Renewable energy costs drop in '09 Reuters, November 23, 2009.
  66. ^ Solar Power 50% Cheaper By Year End – Analysis Reuters, November 24, 2009.
  67. ^ Arno Harris (31 August 2011). "A Silver Lining in Declining Solar Prices". Renewable Energy World. 
  68. ^ John Quiggin (January 3, 2012). "The End of the Nuclear Renaissance |". National Interest. 
  69. ^ Converting Solar Energy into the PHEV Battery "", May 2009
  70. ^ Lantz, E.; Hand, M. and Wiser, R. (13–17 May 2012) "The Past and Future Cost of Wind Energy," National Renewable Energy Laboratory conference paper no. 6A20-54526, p. 4
  71. ^ Helming, Troy (2004) "Uncle Sam's New Year's Resolution"
  72. ^ "LBNL/NREL Analysis Predicts Record Low LCOE for Wind Energy in 2012–2013". US Department of Energy Wind Program Newsletter. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  73. ^ Salerno, E., AWEA Director of Industry and Data Analysis, as quoted in Shahan, Z. (2011) Cost of Wind Power – Kicks Coal's Butt, Better than Natural Gas (& Could Power Your EV for $0.70/gallon)"[dead link]
  74. ^ Danielson, David (14 August 2012). "A Banner Year for the U.S. Wind Industry". Whitehouse Blog. 
  75. ^ Diane Cardwell (20 March 2014). "Wind Industry’s New Technologies Are Helping It Compete on Price". New York Times. [dead link]