Content displaying: CAPEX Definition


CAPEX Definition

Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are expenditures required to achieve commercial operation in a given year.

For coal power plants, CAPEX equals interest during construction (ConFinFactor) times the overnight capital cost (OCC).

Overnight capital costs are modified from AEO2019 (EIA, 2019a). The EIA projections were adjusted by removing the material price index. The material price index accounts for projected changes in the price index for metals and metals products, and it is independent of the learning-based cost reductions applied in the EIA projections.

For the ATB, coal-CCS technology is ultra-supercritical pulverized coal technology fitted with CCS. Both 30% capture and 90% capture options are included for the coal-CCS technology. The CCS plant configuration includes only the cost of capturing and compressing the CO2. It does not include CO2 delivery and storage.

Overnight Capital Cost ($/kW) Construction Financing Factor (ConFinFactor) CAPEX ($/kW)
Coal-new: Ultra-supercritical pulverized coal with SO2 and NOx controls $3,711 1.087 $4,036
Coal-IGCC: Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) $4,055 1.087 $4,409
Coal-CCS: Ultra-supercritical pulverized coal with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) options (30% / 90% capture) $5,180 / $5,728 1.087 $5,633 / $6,229
The various coal technologies have the same construction financing factor, which is a simplification. The factor will vary based on the construction schedule, which is likely to be longer for plants with CCS than those without CCS.

CAPEX can be determined for a plant in a specific geographic location as follows:

CAPEX = ConFinFactor × (OCC × CapRegMult + GCC)
See the Financial Definitions tab in the ATB data spreadsheet.

Regional cost variations and geographically specific grid connection costs are not included in the ATB (CapRegMult = 1; GCC = 0). In the ATB, the input value is overnight capital cost (OCC) and details to calculate interest during construction (ConFinFactor).

In the ATB, CAPEX represents each type of coal plant with a unique value. Regional cost effects associated with labor rates, material costs, and other regional effects as defined by (EIA, 2016) expand the range of CAPEX. Unique land-based spur line costs based on distance and transmission line costs are not estimated. The following figure illustrates the ATB representative plant relative to the range of CAPEX including regional costs across the contiguous United States. The ATB representative plants are associated with a regional multiplier of 1.0.

R&D Only Financial Assumptions (constant background rates, no tax changes)


References are specific to this page, see all references page for all references.

EIA. (2016b). Capital Cost Estimates for Utility Scale Electricity Generating Plants. Retrieved from U.S. Energy Information Administration website:

EIA. (2019a). Annual Energy Outlook 2019 with Projections to 2050. Retrieved from U.S. Energy Information Administration website: