Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are expenditures required to achieve commercial operation in a given year.
The ATB represents the year in which a plant starts commercial operation. Accordingly, for plants whose construction duration exceeds one year, CAPEX costs will represent technology costs that are lagging current-year estimates by at least one year. For CSP plants, the construction period is typically three years.
CAPEX can be determined for a plant in a specific geographic location as follows:
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 a typical solar-CSP plant with 10 hours of thermal storage and does not vary with resource. Regional cost effects associated with labor rates, material costs, and other regional effects as defined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA 2016) expand the range of CAPEX. Unique land-based spur line costs based on distance and transmission line costs expand the range of CAPEX even further. 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.
ATB CAPEX, O&M, and capacity factor assumptions for the Base Year and future projections through 2050 for Constant, Mid, and Low technology cost scenarios are used to develop the NREL Standard Scenarios using the ReEDS model. See ATB and Standard Scenarios.
CAPEX in the ATB does not represent regional variants (CapRegMult) associated with labor rates, material costs, etc., but the ReEDS model does include 134 regional multipliers (EIA 2016).
The ReEDS model determines the land-based spur line (GCC) uniquely for each potential CSP plant based on distance and transmission line cost.
EIA. (2016b). Capital Cost Estimates for Utility Scale Electricity Generating Plants. Retrieved from U.S. Energy Information Administration website: https://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/powerplants/capitalcost/pdf/capcost_assumption.pdf
Turchi, C. (2010). Parabolic Trough Reference Plant for Cost Modeling with the Solar Advisor Model (SAM) (No. NREL/TP-550-47605). https://doi.org/10.2172/983729
Turchi, Craig, & Heath, G. (2013). Molten Salt Power Tower Cost Model for the System Advisor Model (SAM) (No. NREL/TP-5500-57625). https://doi.org/10.2172/1067902