September 27, 2010
Friday Factoids: The Clean Energy Price Gap (Updated)
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released updated figures on the levelized cost of different energy sources. Here's the latest in our irregular Friday Factoids series, provided as usual without comment...
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistics and forecasting agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, a substantial price gap remains between the levelized cost of new renewable electricity sources and conventional fossil fuel power plants, though that gap has narrowed since the EIA published its 2010 numbers last October. Their cost estimates are for new power generation equipment constructed in 2016 and reported in 2009 constant dollars (see graphic below).
Electricity from new onshore wind power, for example, is still a bit more expensive than electricity from new conventional coal-fired power plants, and 47% more expensive than electricity from a conventional natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant, according to EIA estimates. Wind power built offshore a whopping 150% more costly than onshore wind, says the EIA.
Electricity from new utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants and solar thermal power plants are roughly 3.5x and 5x more expensive, respectively, than natural-gas fired combined cycle power plants, and roughly 2x and 3x more expensive, respectively, than conventional gas-fired combustion turbines, according to EIA figures.
Here is the original levelized cost table from the EIA with cost assumptions broken out...
Click either image to enlarge.