# Cost of electricity by source

(Redirected from Price per watt)

The distinct ways of electricity generation can incur significantly different costs. Calculations of these costs can be made at the point of connection to a load or to the electricity grid. The cost is typically given per kilowatt-hour or megawatt-hour. It includes the initial capital, discount rate, as well as the costs of continuous operation, fuel, and maintenance. This type of calculation assists policymakers, researchers and others to guide discussions and decision making.

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is a measure of a power source that allows comparison of different methods of electricity generation on a consistent basis. It is an economic assessment of the average total cost to build and operate a power-generating asset over its lifetime divided by the total energy output of the asset over that lifetime. The LCOE can also be regarded as the average minimum price at which electricity must be sold in order to break-even over the lifetime of the project.

## Cost factors

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:

• Capital costs (including waste disposal and decommissioning costs for nuclear energy) – tend to be low for gas and oil power stations; moderate for onshore wind turbines and solar PV (photovoltaics); higher for coal plants and higher still for waste to energy, wave and tidal, solar thermal, offshore wind and nuclear.
• Fuel costs – high for fossil fuel and biomass sources, low for nuclear, and zero for many renewables. Fuel costs can vary somewhat unpredictably over the life of the generating equipment, due to political and other factors.
• Factors such as the costs of waste (and associated issues) and different insurance costs are not included in the following: Works power, own use or parasitic load – that is, the portion of generated power actually used to run the station's pumps and fans has to be allowed for.

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]

### Capital costs

For power generation capacity capital costs are often expressed as overnight cost per watt. Estimated costs are:

• gas/oil combined cycle power plant - $1000/kW [4] • onshore wind -$1600/kW[4]
• offshore wind - $6500/kW[4] • solar PV (fixed) -$1060/kW (utility),[5] $1800/kW[4] • solar PV (tracking)-$1130/kW (utility)[5] $2000/kW[4] • battery storage power -$2000/kW[4]
• conventional hydropower - $2680/kW[4] • geothermal -$2800/kW[4]
• coal (with SO2 and NOx controls)- $3500–3800/kW[6] • advanced nuclear -$6000/kW[4]

### Avoided cost

The US Energy Information Administration has recommended that levelized costs of non-dispatchable sources such as wind or solar may be better compared to the avoided energy cost rather than to the LCOE 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. Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy (LACE) is the avoided costs from other sources divided by the annual yearly output of the non-dispatchable source. However, the avoided cost is much harder to calculate accurately.[14][15]

### Marginal cost of electricity

A more accurate economic assessment might be the marginal cost of electricity. This value works by comparing the added system cost of increasing electricity generation from one source versus that from other sources of electricity generation (see Merit Order).[citation needed][16]

### External costs of energy sources

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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Furthermore, with a number of island nations becoming slowly submerged underwater due to rising sea levels,[26] massive international climate litigation lawsuits against fossil fuel users are currently[when?] beginning in the International Court of Justice.[27][28]

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.[29][30] Coal has the highest external cost in the EU, and global warming is the largest part of that cost.[17]

A means to address a part of the external costs of fossil fuel generation is carbon pricing — the method most favored by economics for reducing global-warming emissions. Carbon pricing charges those who emit carbon dioxide (CO2) for their emissions. That charge, called a 'carbon price', is the amount that must be paid for the right to emit one tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere.[31] Carbon pricing usually takes the form of a carbon tax or a requirement to purchase permits to emit (also called "allowances").

Depending on the assumptions of possible accidents and their probabilites external costs for nuclear power vary significantly and can reach between 0.2 and 200 ct/kWh.[32] Furthermore, nuclear power is working 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[33] 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.[34]

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.[35]

Because externalities are diffuse in their effect, external costs can not be measured directly, but must be estimated. One approach estimate external costs of environmental impact of electricity is the Methodological Convention of Federal Environment Agency of Germany. That method arrives at external costs of electricity from lignite at 10.75 Eurocent/kWh, from hard coal 8.94 Eurocent/kWh, from natural gas 4.91 Eurocent/kWh, from photovoltaic 1.18 Eurocent/kWh, from wind 0.26 Eurocent/kWh and from hydro 0.18 Eurocent/kWh.[36] For nuclear the Federal Environment Agency indicates no value, as different studies have results that vary by a factor of 1,000. It recommends the nuclear given the huge uncertainty, with the cost of the next inferior energy source to evaluate.[37] Based on this recommendation the Federal Environment Agency, and with their own method, the Forum Ecological-social market economy, arrive at external environmental costs of nuclear energy at 10.7 to 34 ct/kWh.[38]

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 power plants are usually not included (nuclear power plants in the United States 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:

• Comparisons of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions show coal, for instance, to be radically higher in terms of GHGs than any alternative. Accordingly, in the analysis below, carbon captured coal is generally treated as a separate source rather than being averaged in with other coal.
• Other environmental concerns with electricity generation include acid rain, ocean acidification and effect of coal extraction on watersheds.
• Various human health concerns with electricity generation, including asthma and smog, now dominate decisions in developed nations that incur health care costs publicly. A Harvard University Medical School study estimates the US health costs of coal alone at between 300 and 500 billion US dollars annually.[39]
• While cost per kWh of transmission varies drastically with distance, the long complex projects required to clear or even upgrade transmission routes make even attractive new supplies often uncompetitive with conservation measures (see below), because the timing of payoff must take the transmission upgrade into account.

## Current global studies

### France

The International Energy Agency and EDF have estimated for 2011 the following costs.[citation needed] For 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 solar power, the estimate of 293 €/MWh is for a large plant capable of producing in the range of 50–100 GWh/year located in a favorable location (such as in Southern Europe). For a small household plant that can produce around 3 MWh/year, the cost is between 400 and 700 €/MWh, depending on location. Solar power was by far the most expensive renewable source of electricity among the technologies studied, although increasing efficiency and longer lifespan of photovoltaic panels together with reduced production costs have made this source of energy more competitive since 2011. By 2017, the cost of photovoltaic solar power had decreased to less than 50 €/MWh.

French LCOE in €/MWh (2011)
Technology Cost in 2011 Cost in 2017
Hydro power 20
Nuclear (with State-covered insurance costs) 50 50
Nuclear EPR 100[48]
Natural gas turbines without CO2 capture 61
Onshore wind 69 60[48]
Solar farms 293 43.24[49]

### Germany

Comparison of the levelized cost of electricity for some newly built renewable and fossil-fuel based power stations in EuroCent per kWh (Germany, 2018)[50]
Note: employed technologies and LCOE differ by country and change over time.

In November 2013, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE assessed the levelised generation costs for newly built power plants in the German electricity sector.[51] PV systems 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 solar PV) and average German insolation of 1000 to 1200 kWh/ per year (GHI). There are no LCOE-figures available for electricity generated by recently built German nuclear power plants as none have been constructed since the late 1980s. An update of the ISE study was published in March 2018.[50]

German LCOE in €/MWh
ISE (2013) ISE (2018)
Technology Low cost High cost Low cost High cost
Coal-fired power plants brown coal 38 53 46 80
hard coal 63 80 63 99
CCGT power plants 75 98 78 100
Wind Power Onshore wind farms 45 107 40 82
Offshore wind farms 119 194 75 138
Solar PV systems 78 142 37 115
Biogas power plant 135 250 101 147
Source: Fraunhofer ISE (2013) – Levelized cost of electricity renewable energy technologies[51]

Source: Fraunhofer ISE (2018) – Stromgestehungskosten erneuerbare Energien[50]

### Japan

A 2010 study by the Japanese government (pre-Fukushima disaster), called the Energy White Paper,[citation needed] 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]

### United Kingdom

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.[55] The institution seeks to encourage debate of the issue, and has taken the unusual step among compilers of such studies of publishing a spreadsheet.[56]

On 27 February 2015 Vattenfall Vindkraft AS agreed to build the Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm at a price of 10.31 Eurocent per kWh. This has been quoted as below £100 per MWh.

In 2013 in the United Kingdom for a new-to-build nuclear power plant (Hinkley Point C: completion 2023), a feed-in tariff of £92.50/MWh (around 142 USD/MWh) plus compensation for inflation with a running time of 35 years was agreed.[57][58]

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) publishes regular estimates of the costs of different electricity generation sources, following on the estimates of the merged Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Levelized cost estimates for new generation projects begun in 2015 are listed in the table below.[59]

Estimated UK LCOE for projects starting in 2015, £/MWh
Power generating technology Low Central High
Wind Onshore 47 62 76
Offshore 90 102 115
Solar Large-scale PV (Photovoltaic) 71 80 94
Nuclear PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor)(a) 82 93 121
Biomass 85 87 88
Natural Gas Combined Cycle Gas Turbine 65 66 68
CCGT with CCS (Carbon capture and storage) 102 110 123
Open-Cycle Gas Turbine 157 162 170
Coal Advanced Supercritical Coal with Oxy-comb. CCS 124 134 153
IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) with CCS 137 148 171
(a) new nuclear power: guaranteed strike price of £92.50/MWh for Hinkley Point C in 2023[60][61])

### United States

Projected LCOE in the U.S. by 2020 (as of 2015) in dollars per MWh[62]

The following data are from the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook released in 2015 (AEO2015). They are in dollars per megawatt-hour (2013 USD/MWh). These figures are estimates for plants going into service in 2020.[15] The LCOE below is calculated based off a 30-year recovery period using a real after tax weighted average cost of capital (WACC) of 6.1%. For carbon intensive technologies 3 percentage points are added to the WACC. (This is approximately equivalent fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide CO 2 ) Since 2010, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has published the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), with yearly LCOE-projections for future utility-scale facilities to be commissioned in about five years' time. In 2015, EIA has been criticized by the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Institute after its release of the AEO 2015-report to "consistently underestimate the growth rate of renewable energy, leading to 'misperceptions' about the performance of these resources in the marketplace". AEE points out that the average power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind power was already at$24/MWh in 2013. Likewise, PPA for utility-scale solar PV are seen at current levels of $50–$75/MWh.[63] These figures contrast strongly with EIA's estimated LCOE of $125/MWh (or$114/MWh including subsidies) for solar PV in 2020.[64]

Projected LCOE in the U.S. by 2022 (as of 2016) $/MWh Plant Type Min Capacity Weighted Average Max Wind Onshore 43.4 55.8 75.6 Wind Offshore 136.6 NB 212.9 Solar PV 58.3 73.7 143.0 Geothermal 42.8 44.0 53.4 Hydro 57.4 63.9 69.8 Natural Gas-fired Conventional Combined Cycle 52.4 58.6 83.2 Natural Gas-fired Advanced Combined Cycle 51.6 53.8 81.7 Natural Gas-fired Advanced CC with CCS 63.1 NB 90.4 Natural Gas-fired Conventional Combustion Turbine 98.8 100.7 148.3 Natural Gas-fired Advanced Combustion Turbine 85.9 87.1 129.8 Biomass 84.8 97.7 125.3 Advanced Nuclear 95.9 96.2 104.3 Solar Thermal 176.7 NB 372.8 Coal with 30% carbon sequestration 128.9 NB 196.3 Coal with 90% carbon sequestration 102.7 NB 142.5 The electricity sources which had the most decrease in estimated costs over the period 2010 to 2019 were solar photovoltaic (down 88%), onshore wind (down 71%) and advanced natural gas combined cycle (down 49%). For utility-scale generation put into service in 2040, the EIA estimated in 2015 that there would be further reductions in the constant-dollar cost of concentrated solar power (CSP) (down 18%), solar photovoltaic (down 15%), offshore wind (down 11%), and advanced nuclear (down 7%). The cost of onshore wind was expected to rise slightly (up 2%) by 2040, while natural gas combined cycle electricity was expected to increase 9% to 10% over the period.[64] Historical summary of EIA's LCOE projections (2010–2019) Estimate in$/MWh Coal
convent'l
Nat. Gas combined cycle Nuclear
Wind Solar
of year ref for year convent'l advanced onshore offshore PV CSP
2010 [65] 2016 100.4 83.1 79.3 119.0 149.3 191.1 396.1 256.6
2011 [66] 2016 95.1 65.1 62.2 114.0 96.1 243.7 211.0 312.2
2012 [67] 2017 97.7 66.1 63.1 111.4 96.0 N/A 152.4 242.0
2013 [68] 2018 100.1 67.1 65.6 108.4 86.6 221.5 144.3 261.5
2014 [69] 2019 95.6 66.3 64.4 96.1 80.3 204.1 130.0 243.1
2015 [64] 2020 95.1 75.2 72.6 95.2 73.6 196.9 125.3 239.7
2016 [70] 2022 NB 58.1 57.2 102.8 64.5 158.1 84.7 235.9
2017 [71] 2022 NB 58.6 53.8 96.2 55.8 NB 73.7 NB
2018 [72] 2022 NB 48.3 48.1 90.1 48.0 124.6 59.1 NB
2019 [72] 2023 NB 40.8 40.2 NB 42.8 117.9 48.8 NB
Nominal change 2010–2019 NB −48% −49% NB −71% -38% −88% NB
Note: Projected LCOE are adjusted for inflation and calculated on constant dollars based on two years prior to the release year of the estimate.
Estimates given without any subsidies. Transmission cost for non-dispatchable sources are on average much higher.

NB = "Not built" (No capacity additions are expected.)

#### NREL OpenEI (2015)

OpenEI, sponsored jointly by the US DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has compiled a historical cost-of-generation database[73] covering a wide variety of generation sources. Because the data is open source it may be subject to frequent revision.

LCOE from OpenEI DB as of June, 2015
Plant Type (USD/MWh) Min Median Max Data Source Year
Distributed Generation 10 70 130 2014
Hydropower Conventional 30 70 100 2011
Small Hydropower 140 2011
Wind Onshore (land based) 40 80 2014
Offshore 100 200 2014
Natural Gas Combined Cycle 50 80 2014
Combustion Turbine 140 200 2014
Coal Pulverized, scrubbed 60 150 2014
Pulverized, unscrubbed 40 2008
IGCC, gasified 100 170 2014
Solar Photovoltaic 60 110 250 2014
CSP 100 220 2014
Geothermal Hydrothermal 50 100 2011
Blind 100 2011
Enhanced 80 130 2014
Biopower 90 110 2014
Fuel Cell 100 160 2014
Nuclear 90 130 2014
Ocean 230 240 250 2011

Note:
Only Median value = only one data point.
Only Max + Min value = Only two data points

#### California Energy Commission (2014)

LCOE data from the California Energy Commission report titled "Estimated Cost of New Renewable and Fossil Generation in California".[74] The model data was calculated for all three classes of developers: merchant, investor-owned utility (IOU), and publicly owned utility (POU).

Type Year 2013 (Nominal $$) (/MWh) Year 2024( Nominal$$) ($/MWh) Name Merchant IOU POU Merchant IOU POU Generation Turbine 49.9 MW 662.81 2215.54 311.27 884.24 2895.90 428.20 Generation Turbine 100 MW 660.52 2202.75 309.78 881.62 2880.53 426.48 Generation Turbine – Advanced 200 MW 403.83 1266.91 215.53 533.17 1615.68 299.06 Combined Cycle 2CTs No Duct Firing 500 MW 116.51 104.54 102.32 167.46 151.88 150.07 Combined Cycle 2CTs With Duct Firing 500 MW 115.81 104.05 102.04 166.97 151.54 149.88 Biomass Fluidized Bed Boiler 50 MW 122.04 141.53 123.51 153.89 178.06 156.23 Geothermal Binary 30 MW 90.63 120.21 84.98 109.68 145.31 103.00 Geothermal Flash 30 MW 112.48 146.72 109.47 144.03 185.85 142.43 Solar Parabolic Trough W/O Storage 250 MW 168.18 228.73 167.93 156.10 209.72 156.69 Solar Parabolic Trough With Storage 250 MW 127.40 189.12 134.81 116.90 171.34 123.92 Solar Power Tower W/O Storage 100 MW 152.58 210.04 151.53 133.63 184.24 132.69 Solar Power Tower With Storage 100 MW 6HR 145.52 217.79 153.81 132.78 196.47 140.58 Solar Power Tower With Storage 100 MW 11HR 114.06 171.72 120.45 103.56 154.26 109.55 Solar Photovoltaic (Thin Film) 100 MW 111.07 170.00 121.30 81.07 119.10 88.91 Solar Photovoltaic (Single-Axis) 100 MW 109.00 165.22 116.57 98.49 146.20 105.56 Solar Photovoltaic (Thin Film) 20 MW 121.31 186.51 132.42 93.11 138.54 101.99 Solar Photovoltaic (Single-Axis) 20 MW 117.74 179.16 125.86 108.81 162.68 116.56 Wind Class 3 100 MW 85.12 104.74 75.8 75.01 91.90 68.17 Wind Class 4 100 MW 84.31 103.99 75.29 75.77 92.88 68.83 #### Lazard (2015) In November 2015, the investment bank Lazard headquartered in New York, published its ninth annual study on the current electricity production costs of photovoltaics in the US compared to conventional power generators. The best large-scale photovoltaic power plants can produce electricity at 50 USD per MWh. The upper limit at 60 USD per MWh. In comparison, coal-fired plants are between 65 USD and$150 per MWh, nuclear power at 97 USD per MWh. Small photovoltaic power plants on roofs of houses are still at 184–300 USD per MWh, but which can do without electricity transport costs. Onshore wind turbines are 32–77 USD per MWh. One drawback is the intermittency of solar and wind power. The study suggests a solution in batteries as a storage, but these are still expensive so far.[75][76]

Lazard's long standing Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) report is widely considered and industry benchmark. In 2015 Lazard published its inaugural Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) report, which was developed by the investment bank Lazard in collaboration with the energy consulting firm, Enovation.[77]

Below is the complete list of LCOEs by source from the investment bank Lazard.[75]

Plant Type ( USD/MWh) Low High
Energy Efficiency 0 50
Wind 32 77
Solar PV-Thin Film Utility Scale 50 60
Solar PV-Crystalline Utility Scale 58 70
Solar PV-Rooftop Residential 184 300
Solar PV-Rooftop C&I 109 193
Solar Thermal with Storage 119 181
Microturbine 79 89
Geothermal 82 117
Biomass Direct 82 110
Fuel Cell 106 167
Natural Gas Reciprocating Engine 68 101
Gas Combined Cycle 52 78
Gas Peaking 165 218
IGCC 96 183
Nuclear 97 136
Coal 65 150
Battery Storage ** **
Diesel Reciprocating Engine 212 281

NOTE: ** Battery Storage is no longer include in this report (2015). It has been rolled into its own separate report LCOS 1.0, developed in consultation with Enovation Partners (See charts below).

Below are the LCOSs for different battery technologies. This category has traditionally been filled by Diesel Engines. These are "Behind the meter" applications.[78]

Purpose Type Low ($/MWh) High ($/MWh)
MicroGrid Flow Battery 429 1046
MicroGrid Lithium-Ion 369 562
MicroGrid Sodium 411 835
MicroGrid Zinc 319 416
Island Flow Battery 593 1231
Island Lithium-Ion 581 870
Island Sodium 663 1259
Island Zinc 523 677
Commercial and Industrial Flow Battery 349 1083
Commercial and Industrial Lead-Acid 529 1511
Commercial and Industrial Lithium-Ion 351 838
Commercial and Industrial Sodium 444 1092
Commercial and Industrial Zinc 310 452
Commercial Appliance Flow Battery 974 1504
Commercial Appliance Lithium-Ion 784 1363
Commercial Appliance Zinc 661 833
Residential Flow Battery 721 1657
Residential Lithium-Ion 1034 1596
All of the above

Diesel Reciprocating Engine 212 281

Below are the LCOSs for different battery technologies. This category has traditionally been filled by Natural Gas Engines. These are "In front of the meter" applications.[78]

Purpose Type Low ($/MWh) High ($/MWh)
Transmission System Compressed Air 192 192
Transmission System Flow Battery 290 892
Transmission System Lithium-Ion 347 739
Transmission System Pumped Hydro 188 274
Transmission System Sodium 396 1079
Transmission System Zinc 230 376
Peaker Replacement Flow Battery 248 927
Peaker Replacement Lithium-Ion 321 658
Peaker Replacement Sodium 365 948
Peaker Replacement Zinc 221 347
Frequency Regulation Flywheel 276 989
Frequency Regulation Lithium-Ion 211 275
Distribution Services Flow Battery 288 923
Distribution Services Lithium-Ion 400 789
Distribution Services Sodium 426 1129
Distribution Services Zinc 285 426
PV Integration Flow Battery 373 950
PV Integration Lithium-Ion 355 686
PV Integration Sodium 379 957
PV Integration Zinc 245 345
All of the above

Gas Peaker 165 218

#### Lazard (2016)

On December 15, 2016 Lazard released version 10[79] of their LCOE report and version 2[80] of their LCOS report.

Type Low ($/MWh) High ($/MWh)
Wind 32 62
Solar PV-Crystalline Utility Scale 49 61
Solar PV-Thin Film Utility Scale 46 56
Solar PV-Community 78 135
Solar PV-Rooftop Residential 138 222
Solar PV-Rooftop C&I 88 193
Solar Thermal Tower with Storage 119 182
Microturbine 76 89
Geothermal 79 117
Biomass Direct 77 110
Fuel Cell 106 167
Natural Gas Reciprocating Engine 68 101
Gas Combined Cycle 48 78
Gas Peaking 165 217
IGCC 94 210
Nuclear 97 136
Coal 60 143
Diesel Reciprocating Engine 212 281

#### Lazard (2017)

On November 2, 2017 the investment bank Lazard released version 11[81] of their LCOE report and version 3[82] of their LCOS report.[83]

Generation Type Low ($/MWh) High ($/MWh)
Wind 30 60
Solar PV - Crystalline Utility Scale 46 53
Solar PV - Thin Film Utility Scale 43 48
Solar PV - Community 76 150
Solar PV - Rooftop Residential 187 319
Solar PV - Rooftop C&I 85 194
Solar Thermal Tower with Storage 98 181
Microturbine 59 89
Geothermal 77 117
Biomass Direct 55 114
Fuel Cell 106 167
Natural Gas Reciprocating Engine 68 106
Gas Combined Cycle 42 78
Gas Peaking 156 210
IGCC 96 231
Nuclear 112 183
Coal 60 143
Diesel Reciprocating Engine 197 281

Below are the unsubsidized LCOSs for different battery technologies for "Behind the Meter" (BTM) applications.[82]

Use Case Storage Type Low ($/MWh) High ($/MWh)
Commercial Lithium-Ion 891 985
Residential Lithium-Ion 1028 1274

Below are the Unsubsidized LCOSs for different battery technologies "Front of the Meter" (FTM) applications.[82]

Use Case Storage Type Low ($/MWh) High ($/MWh)
Peaker Replacement Flow Battery(V) 209 413
Peaker Replacement Flow Battery(Zn) 286 315
Peaker Replacement Lithium-Ion 282 347
Distribution Flow Battery(V) 184 338
Distribution Lithium-Ion 272 338
Microgrid Flow Battery(V) 273 406
Microgrid Lithium-Ion 383 386

Note: Flow battery value range estimates

### Global

#### IEA and NEA (2015)

The International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency published a joint study in 2015 on LCOE data internationally.[84][85]

### Other studies and analysis

#### Buffett Contract (2015)

In a power purchase agreement in the United States in July 2015 for a period of 20 years of solar power will be paid 3.87 UScent per kilowatt hour (38.7 USD/MWh). The solar system, which produces this solar power, is in Nevada (USA) and has 100 MW capacity.[86]

#### Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid solar farm (2016)

In the spring of 2016 a winning bid of 2.99 US cents per kilowatt-hour of photovoltaic solar energy was achieved for the next (800 MW capacity) phase of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid solar farm in Dubai.[87]

#### Brookings Institution (2014)

In 2014, the Brookings Institution 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.[88][89]

#### Brazilian electricity mix: the Renewable and Non-renewable Exergetic Cost (2014)

Exergy costs of Integrated Brazilian Electricity Mix

As long as exergy stands for the useful energy required for an economic activity to be accomplished, it is reasonable to evaluate the cost of the energy on the basis of its exergy content. Besides, as exergy can be considered as measure of the departure of the environmental conditions, it also serves as an indicator of environmental impact, taking into account both the efficiency of supply chain (from primary exergy inputs) and the efficiency of the production processes. In this way, exergoeconomy can be used to rationally distribute the exergy costs and CO
2
emission cost among the products and by-products of a highly integrated Brazilian electricity mix. Based on the thermoeconomy methodologies, some authors[90] have shown that exergoeconomy provides an opportunity to quantify the renewable and non-renewable specific exergy consumption; to properly allocate the associated CO
2
emissions among the streams of a given production route; as well as to determine the overall exergy conversion efficiency of the production processes. Accordingly, the non-renewable unit exergy cost (cNR) [kJ/kJ] is defined as the rate of non-renewable exergy necessary to produce one unit of exergy rate/flow rate of a substance, fuel, electricity, work or heat flow, whereas the Total Unit Exergy Cost (cT) includes the Renewable (cR) and Non-Renewable Unit Exergy Costs. Analogously, the CO
2
emission cost (cCO
2
) [gCO
2
/kJ] is defined as the rate of CO
2
emitted to obtain one unit of exergy rate/flow rate.[90]

## Renewables

### Photovoltaics

European PV LCOE range projection 2010–2020 (in €-cts/kWh)[91]

Price history of silicon PV cells since 1977

Photovoltaic prices have fallen from $76.67 per watt in 1977 to nearly$0.13 per watt in May 2019, for crystalline silicon solar cells and module price to $0.23 per watt.[92][93] This is seen as evidence supporting Swanson's law, which states that solar cell prices fall 20% for every doubling of cumulative shipments. The famous Moore's law calls for a doubling of transistor count every two years. 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,[94] 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,[9] particularly when the time of generation is included, as electricity is worth more during the day than at night.[95] 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.[96] As time progresses, renewable energy technologies generally get cheaper,[97][98] 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 [could in 2011] 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 favourably to retail electric rates.[99] In the year 2015, First Solar agreed to supply solar power at 3.87 cents/kWh levelised price from its 100 MW Playa Solar 2 project which is far cheaper than the electricity sale price from conventional electricity generation plants.[100] From January 2015 through May 2016, records have continued to fall quickly, and solar electricity prices, which have reached levels below 3 cents/kWh, continue to fall.[101] In August 2016, Chile announced a new record low contract price to provide solar power for$29.10 per megawatt-hour (MWh).[102] In September 2016, Abu Dhabi announced a new record breaking bid price, promising to provide solar power for $24.2 per MWh[103] In October 2017, Saudi Arabia announced a further low contract price to provide solar power for$17.90 per MWh.[104]

With a carbon price of $50/ton (which would raise the price of coal-fired power by 5c/kWh), solar PV is cost-competitive in most locations. The declining price of PV has been reflected in rapidly growing installations, totaling a worldwide cumulative capacity of 297 GW by end 2016. According to some estimates total investment in renewables for 2011 exceeded investment in carbon-based electricity generation.[105] 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. Inverter technology is rapidly improving and current equipment has reached 99% efficiency for small scale residential,[106] while commercial scale three-phase equipment can reach well above 98% efficiency. However, 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).[107] It is also possible to combine solar PV with other technologies to make hybrid systems, which enable more stand alone systems. The calculation of LCOEs becomes more complex, but can be done by aggregating the costs and the energy produced by each component. As for example, PV and cogen and batteries [108] while reducing energy- and electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions as compared to conventional sources.[109] ### Solar thermal LCOE of solar thermal power with energy storage which can operate round the clock on demand, has fallen to AU$78/MWh (US$61/MWh) in August 2017.[110] Though solar thermal plants with energy storage can work as stand alone systems, combination with solar PV power can deliver further cheaper power.[111] Cheaper and dispatchable solar thermal storage power need not depend on costly or polluting coal/gas/oil/nuclear based power generation for ensuring stable grid operation.[112][113] When a solar thermal storage plant is forced to idle due to lack of sunlight locally during cloudy days, it is possible to consume the cheap excess infirm power from solar PV, wind and hydro power plants (similar to a lesser efficient, huge capacity and low cost battery storage system) by heating the hot molten salt to higher temperature for converting the stored thermal energy in to electricity during the peak demand hours when the electricity sale price is profitable.[114][115] ### Wind power NREL projection: the LCOE of U.S. wind power will decline by 25% from 2012 to 2030.[116] Estimated cost per MWh for wind power in Denmark as of 2012 Current land-based wind In the windy great plains expanse of the central United States new-construction wind power costs in 2017 are compellingly below costs of continued use of existing coal burning plants. Wind power can be contracted via a power purchase agreement at two cents per kilowatt hour while the operating costs for power generation in existing coal-burning plants remain above three cents.[117] Current offshore wind In 2016 the Norwegian Wind Energy Association (NORWEA) estimated the LCoE of a typical Norwegian wind farm at 44 €/MWh, assuming a weighted average cost of capital of 8% and an annual 3,500 full load hours, i.e. a capacity factor of 40%. NORWEA went on to estimate the LCoE of the 1 GW Fosen Vind onshore wind farm which is expected to be operational by 2020 to be as low as 35 €/MWh to 40 €/MWh.[118] In November 2016, Vattenfall won a tender to develop the Kriegers Flak windpark in the Baltic Sea for 49.9 €/MWh,[119] and similar levels were agreed for the Borssele offshore wind farms. As of 2016, this is the lowest projected price for electricity produced using offshore wind. Historic levels 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.[120] As of 2012 capital costs for wind turbines are substantially lower than 2008–2010 but are still above 2002 levels.[121] 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. 35% 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."[122] 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.[123] For example, the wind industry in the USA in 2014 was able to produce more power at lower cost by using taller wind turbines with longer blades, capturing the faster winds at higher elevations. This opened up new opportunities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The price of power from wind turbines built 300 to 400 ft (91 to 122 m) 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.[124] ## See also ## Further reading ## References 1. ^ A Review of Electricity Unit Cost Estimates Working Paper, December 2006 – Updated May 2007 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 8, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 2. ^ "Cost of wind, nuclear and gas powered generation in the UK". Claverton-energy.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 3. ^ "David Millborrows paper on wind costs". Claverton-energy.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 4. "Cost and Performance Characteristics of New Generating Technologies, Annual Energy Outlook 2019" (PDF). U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-10. 5. ^ a b https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy19osti/72399.pdf 6. ^ [1] 2017 Annual Technology Baseline: Coal NREL 7. ^ Nuclear Energy Agency/International Energy Agency/Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Projected Costs of Generating Electricity (2005 Update) Archived 2016-09-12 at the Wayback Machine 8. ^ K. Branker, M. J.M. Pathak, J. M. Pearce, doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.104 A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15, pp.4470–4482 (2011). Open access 9. ^ a b c d Branker, K.; Pathak, M.J.M.; Pearce, J.M. (2011). "A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 15 (9): 4470–4482. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.104. Open access 10. ^ "(Xenon-135) Response to Reactor Power Changes". Nuclear-Power.net. Retrieved August 8, 2019. 11. ^ "Molten Salt Reactors". World Nuclear Association. December 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2019. MSRs have large negative temperature and void coefficients of reactivity, and are designed to shut down due to expansion of the fuel salt as temperature increases beyond design limits. . . . The MSR thus has a significant load-following capability where reduced heat abstraction through the boiler tubes leads to increased coolant temperature, or greater heat removal reduces coolant temperature and increases reactivity. 12. ^ 13. ^ a b c d Bronski, Peter (29 May 2014). "You Down With LCOE? Maybe You, But Not Me:Leaving behind the limitations of levelized cost of energy for a better energy metric". RMI Outlet. Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016. Desirable shifts in how we as a nation and as individual consumers—whether a residential home or commercial real estate property—manage, produce, and consume electricity can actually make LCOE numbers look worse, not better. This is particularly true when considering the influence of energy efficiency...If you’re planning a new, big central power plant, you want to get the best value (i.e., lowest LCOE) possible. For the cost of any given power-generating asset, that comes through maximizing the number of kWh it cranks out over its economic lifetime, which runs exactly counter to the highly cost-effective energy efficiency that has been a driving force behind the country’s flat and even declining electricity demand. On the flip side, planning new big, central power plants without taking continued energy efficiency gains (of which there’s no shortage of opportunity—the February 2014 UNEP Finance Initiative report Commercial Real Estate: Unlocking the energy efficiency retrofit investment opportunity identified a$231–$300 billion annual market by 2020) into account risks overestimating the number of kWh we’d need from them and thus lowballing their LCOE... If I’m a homeowner or business considering purchasing rooftop solar outright, do I care more about the per-unit value (LCOE) or my total out of pocket (lifetime system cost)?...The per-unit value is less important than the thing considered as a whole...LCOE, for example, fails to take into account the time of day during which an asset can produce power, where it can be installed on the grid, and its carbon intensity, among many other variables. 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