Skip to main content

EPRI Cost Analysis on Energy Technologies

The Electric Power Research Institute has a report out that compares the costs of fossil fuels, nuclear and renewables.

The Integrated Generation Technology Options report provides an executive-level overview of near-term (5 – 10 years) as well as longer term (2025) electricity generation technology costs and performance. The purpose of this document is to provide a public domain reference for industry executives, policy makers, and other stakeholders. This report is based on 2010 EPRI research results and updates the Integrated Generation Technology Options report  published in November 2009.

The key numbers can be found in the two tables pasted below which are on pages 1-11 and 1-12. The first table shows the estimated costs of each technology in 2015, the second table shows the estimated costs in 2025. All dollars are inflated to the year 2010.

The important numbers to look at are the LCOE in the right column which stands for Levelized Cost of Electricity. The LCOE includes the costs for capital, fuel, and operations and maintenance (it accounts for nearly all costs of a facility’s life).

image

image

As shown in both tables, nuclear’s levelized costs are estimated to range from $76-$87/MWh. In the 2015 table, the cost ranges that are lower than nuclear are coal and natural gas. Some biomass and onshore wind are competitive but offshore wind and solar don’t look like are in the game quite yet without major incentives.

In the 2025 table, EPRI assumes carbon capture is available for coal and natural gas which adds a bit to their capital and levelized costs. The cost ranges for nuclear, biomass and wind stay mostly the same. And it looks like the range for concentrating solar thermal becomes more competitive.

To add a number of qualifiers to the results, here’s EPRI on page v:

Planning for new U.S. power generation is in a state of flux due to uncertainty associated with recovery of recession-driven declines in electricity consumption, the impacts of anticipated regulations on existing generation, and potential future climate policy. U. S. electricity consumption began to recover in 2010 after back-to-back declines in 2008 and 2009 due to the economic crisis. However, the electric sector continues to feel the impacts of the recession from high unemployment rates, slow recovery of the industrial sector, and tighter credit markets. Anticipated environmental regulations may have significant impacts on existing generation including substantial capital investment in environmental controls retrofits and retirement of older, less-efficient generating stations. Longer-term implications of potential future U.S. climate legislation continue to be a factor in integrated resource planning.

And who said planning for the future would be easy?

Comments

Alan said…
I get a download error when I click on your link to the report.
David Bradish said…
Thx, should be fixed now.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…