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  • George M Coladonato
    Jan 15, 2013
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      Need to factor in environmental costs.
      US Department of Energy estimates
      The tables below list the estimated cost of electricity by source for plants entering service in 2017. The tables are from a January 23, 2012 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 2012".[10]
      • Total System Levelized Cost (the rightmost column) gives the dollar cost per megawatt-hour that must be charged over time in order to pay for the total cost. Divide by 1000 to get the cost per kilowatt-hour (move the decimal point 1 place to the left to get the cost in cents/kWh).
      These calculations reflect an adjustment to account for the high level of carbon dioxide produced by coal plants. From the EIA report:
      "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."[10]
      No tax credits or incentives are incorporated in the tables. From the EIA report (emphasis added):
      "Levelized cost represents the present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle, converted to equal annual payments and expressed in terms of real dollars to remove the impact of inflation. Levelized cost reflects overnight capital cost, fuel cost, fixed and variable O&M cost, 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 below do not incorporate any such incentives."[10]
      Incentives, tax credits, production mandates, etc. are discussed in the overall comprehensive EIA report: "Annual Energy Outlook 2012".[11][12][13]
      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.[10]
      Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2017[10]
      U.S. Average Levelized Cost for Plants Entering Service in 2017
      (2010 USD/MWh)
      Plant TypeCapacity
      Conventional Coal8565.
      Advanced Coal8575.26.629.21.2112.2
      Advanced Coal with CCS8593.39.336.81.2140.7
      Natural Gas Fired
      Conventional Combined Cycle8717.51.948.01.268.6
      Advanced Combined Cycle8717.91.944.41.265.5
      Advanced CC with CCS8734.
      Conventional Combustion Turbine3046.02.779.93.6132.0
      Advanced Combustion Turbine3031.72.667.53.6105.3
      Advanced Nuclear9088.811.311.61.1112.7
      Wind — Offshore127300.622.40.07.7330.6
      Solar PV1,225144.
      Solar Thermal120204.740.10.06.2251.0
      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, 2017[11]
      Plant TypeRange for Total System Levelized Costs
      (2010 USD/MWh)
      Conventional Coal90.199.6116.3
      Advanced Coal103.9112.2126.1
      Advanced Coal with CCS129.6140.7162.4
      Natural Gas Fired
      Conventional Combined Cycle61.868.688.1
      Advanced Combined Cycle58.965.583.3
      Advanced CC with CCS82.892.8110.9
      Conventional Combustion Turbine94.6132.0164.1
      Advanced Combustion Turbine80.4105.3133.0
      Advanced Nuclear108.4112.7120.1
      Wind — Offshore307.3330.6350.4
      Solar PV122.2156.9245.6
      Solar Thermal182.7251.0400.7