Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
This report provides a condensed, public-domain reference for current cost, performance and technology status data for eight central station power generation technologies. In this report, central station is defined as greater than 100 MW with the exception of some renewable resource-based technologies. In addition to fossil- and nuclear-based technologies, four renewable resource-based technologies are included. This report addresses the principal technology options for utility-scale power generation.
This report focuses on eight key central-station technologies that are of interest to the industry and are likely to dominate the U.S. generation mix during the next two decades. While forecasting future costs is challenging, estimates of future costs and performance can be made based on technology development trends.
This report presents essential cost and performance data on eight utility-scale power generation technologies drawn from ongoing research under the EPRI Technical Assessment Guide, Renewable Generation, and CoalFleet for Tomorrow programs. Levelized costs of electricity are calculated based on methods generally consistent with those used in the EPRI Technical Assessment Guide.
Planning for new U.S. power generation is in a state of flux because of 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 because of the economic crisis. The electric sector, however, 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 might 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.
With a continued public focus on environmental issues and the electric sector, the scope and breadth of analyses by EPRI and others addressing impacts of policy and economic trends on technology development have continued to grow. These analyses rely on assumptions about generation technology cost and performance. This report provides a basis for EPRI energy-economic analyses, as well as a reference for stakeholders who need credible data on performance and cost of conventional and emerging electricity technologies. This report is based on more detailed research results presented in the 2010 EPRI report “Technical Assessment Guide (TAG) – Power Generation and Storage Technology Options (1019822)” and the 2010 EPRI report “Renewable Energy Technology Guide (1019760).”
EPRI continues to make this report publicly available to meet the demand for credible technical information created by the continued growth in planning for power generation and analysis of the electricity sector. Its publication responds to requests from a range of stakeholders to disseminate power generation technology information more widely.