2019 ATB Cost and Performance Summary

The table and figures below summarize current (2017) and projected (2030, 2050) technology cost and performance from the 2019 ATB data spreadsheet by generation technology and year, including CF (capacity factor) range, CAPEX (capital expenditure) range, fuel cost, O&M (operations and maintenance) cost (fixed and variable), and calculated levelized cost of energy (LCOE) range.

Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is a summary metric that combines the primary technology cost and performance parameters: CAPEX, O&M, and CF. It is included in the ATB for illustrative purposes. The ATB focuses on defining the primary cost and performance parameters for use in electric sector modeling or other analysis where more sophisticated comparisons among technologies are made. The LCOE accounts for the energy component of electric system planning and operation. The LCOE uses an annual average capacity factor when spreading costs over the anticipated energy generation. This annual capacity factor ignores specific operating behavior such as ramping, start-up, and shutdown that could be relevant for more detailed evaluations of generator cost and value. Electricity generation technologies have different capabilities to provide such services. For example, wind and PV are primarily energy service providers while the other electricity generation technologies provide capacity and flexibility services in addition to energy. These capacity and flexibility services are difficult to value and depend strongly on the system in which a new generation plant is introduced. These services are represented in electric sector models such as the ReEDS model and corresponding analysis results such as the Standard Scenarios.

To estimate LCOE, assumptions about the cost of capital to finance electricity generation projects are required, and the LCOE calculations are sensitive to these financial assumptions. Two project finance structures are used within the ATB:

  • R&D Only Financial Assumptions: This sensitivity case allows technology-specific changes to debt interest rates, return on equity rates, and debt fraction to reflect effects of R&D on technological risk perception, but it holds background rates constant at 2017 values from AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) and excludes effects of tax reform and tax credits. A constant cost recovery period-or period over which the initial capital investment is recovered-of 30 years is assumed for all technologies.
  • R&D Only + Market Financial Assumptions: This sensitivity case retains the technology-specific changes to debt interest, return on equity rates, and debt fraction from the R&D Only case and adds in the variation over time consistent with AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) as well as effects of tax reform and tax credits. As in the R&D Only case, a constant cost recovery period-or period over which the initial capital investment is recovered-of 30 years is assumed for all technologies. For a detailed discussion of these assumptions, see Project Finance Impact on LCOE.

Effects of the recent changes to Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) and corporate tax rates are represented. The equations and variables used to estimate LCOE are defined on the Equations and Variables page. For illustration of the impact of changing financial structures such as WACC, see Project Finance Impact on LCOE.

For the renewable electricity generation technologies, Constant, Mid, and Low technology cost scenarios appearing in the table and figures refer to a range of perspectives based on publicly available literature. These three technology advance scenarios are generally described as follows:

  • Constant: Base Year (or near-term estimates of projects under construction) equivalent through 2050 maintains current relative technology cost differences.
  • Mid: technology advances through continued industry growth, public and private R&D investments, and market conditions relative to current levels that may be characterized as "likely" or "not surprising"
  • Low: Technology advances that may occur with breakthroughs, increased public and private R&D investments, and/or other market conditions that lead to cost and performance levels that may be characterized as the "limit of surprise" but not necessarily the absolute low bound.

For conventional technologies, Constant, Mid, and Low technology cost designations appearing in the tables and figures refer to a range of fuel price projections derived from AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) .

The following technology abbreviations are used in these summary tables:

  • CC: combined cycle
  • CCS: carbon capture and storage
  • CSP: concentrating solar power
  • CT: combustion turbine
  • IGCC: integrated gasification combined cycle
  • PC: pulverized coal
  • TES: thermal energy storage.

Cost and Performance Summary Tables for the Mid Technology Cost Scenario

R&D
R&D + Market

LCOE Summary Table 2017-R&D Only

CF Range CAPEX Range OPEX LCOE Range
Technology Min. (%) Max. (%) Min. ($/kW) Max. ($/kW) Fuel Costs ($/MWh) Fixed O&M ($/kW-yr) Variable O&M ($/MWh) Min. ($/MWh) Max. ($/MWh)
Dispatchable
Coal PC 54% 85% $4.036 $4,036 $ 18 $ 33 $ 5 $ 69 $ 95
IGCC 54% 85% $4,409 $4,409 $ 18 $ 54 $ 8 $ 78 $ 108
CCS-30% 54% 85% $5,633 $5,633 $ 20 $ 69 $ 7 $ 94 $ 132
CCS-90% 54% 85% $6,229 $6,229 $ 24 $ 80 $ 10 $ 108 $ 151
Natural Gas CT 7% 30% $ 919 $ 919 $ 33 $ 12 $ 7 $ 64 $ 148
CC 51% 87% $927 $927 $ 22 $ 11 $ 3 $ 33 $ 38
CC-CCS 51% 87% $2,292 $2,292 $ 25 $ 34 $ 7 $ 54 $ 68
Nuclear 92% 92% $6,742 $6,742 $ 7 $ 101 $ 2 $ 67 $ 67
Biopower 56% 56% $3,990 $4,184 $ 41 $ 112 $ 6 $ 86 $ 112
Geothermal 80% 90% $4,681 $35,813 $ 0 $ 135 $ 0 $ 78 $ 618
CSP with 10-hr TES 50% 64% $7,330 $7,330 $ 0 $ 66 $ 4 $ 115 $ 144
Non-Dispatchable
Wind Land-based 10% 48% $1,610 $1,610 $ 0 $ 44 $ 0 $ 30 $ 143
Offshore 28% 51% $3,774 $6,323 $ 0 $ 87 $ 0 $ 90 $ 192
Photovoltaic Utility 15% 27% $1,308 $2,328 $ 0 $ 20 $ 0 $ 33 $ 59
Commercial 12% 20% $1,857 $1,857 $ 0 $ 18 $ 0 $ 66 $ 109
Residential 13% 21% $2,770 $2,770 $ 0 $ 23 $ 0 $ 91 $ 150
Hydropower 60% 64% $4,022 $7,469 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 37 $ 72

LCOE Summary Table 2030-R&D Only

CF Range CAPEX Range OPEX LCOE Range
Technology Min. (%) Max. (%) Min. ($/kW) Max. ($/kW) Fuel Costs ($/MWh) Fixed O&M ($/kW-yr) Variable O&M ($/MWh) Min. ($/MWh) Max. ($/MWh)
Dispatchable
Coal PC 54% 85% $3,869 $3,869 $ 19 $ 33 $ 5 $ 68 $ 93
IGCC 54% 85% $3,930 $3,930 $ 16 $ 54 $ 8 $ 72 $ 99
CCS-30% 54% 85% $5,264 $5,264 $ 20 $ 69 $ 7 $ 90 $ 126
CCS-90% 54% 85% $5,821 $5,821 $ 20 $ 80 $ 10 $ 100 $ 141
Natural Gas CT 7% 30% $852 $852 $ 37 $ 12 $ 7 $ 67 $ 145
CC 51% 87% $852 $852 $ 26 $ 11 $ 3 $ 36 $ 42
CC-CCS 51% 87% $1,987 $1,987 $ 31 $ 34 $ 7 $ 57 $ 70
Nuclear 92% 92% $6,246 $6,246 $ 7 $ 101 $ 2 $ 64 $ 64
Biopower 56% 56% $3,823 $4,020 $ 41 $ 112 $ 6 $ 83 $ 110
Geothermal 80% 90% $4,364 $33,554 $ 0 $ 135 $ 0 $ 72 $ 571
CSP with 10-hr TES 50% 64% $4,681 $4.681 $ 0 $ 51 $ 4 $ 55 $ 69
Non-Dispatchable
Wind Land-based 13% 54% $1,252 $1,252 $ 0 $ 39 $ 0 $ 21 $ 87
Offshore 29% 52% $2,646 $4,087 $ 0 $ 60 $ 0 $ 49 $ 112
Photovoltaic Utility 15% 27% $ 862 $ 862 $ 0 $ 7 $ 0 $ 22 $ 40
Commercial 12% 20% $1,267 $1,267 $ 0 $ 13 $ 0 $ 43 $ 71
Residential 13% 21% $1,408 $1,408 $ 0 $ 11 $ 0 $ 44 $ 72
Hydropower 60% 64% $4,022 $7,261 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 37 $ 70

LCOE Summary Table 2050-R&D Only

CF Range CAPEX Range OPEX LCOE Range
Technology Min. (%) Max. (%) Min. ($/kW) Max. ($/kW) Fuel Costs ($/MWh) Fixed O&M ($/kW-yr) Variable O&M ($/MWh) Min. ($/MWh) Max. ($/MWh)
Dispatchable
Coal PC 54% 85% $3,639 $3,639 $ 19 $ 33 $ 5 $ 66 $ 90
IGCC 54% 85% $3,636 $3,636 $ 16 $ 54 $ 8 $ 69 $ 94
CCS-30% 54% 85% $4,735 $4,735 $ 20 $ 69 $ 7 $ 85 $ 118
CCS-90% 54% 85% $5,236 $5,236 $ 20 $ 80 $ 10 $ 94 $ 132
Natural Gas CT 7% 30% $ 800 $ 800 $ 48 $ 12 $ 7 $ 76 $ 151
CC 51% 87% $ 800 $ 800 $ 33 $ 11 $ 3 $ 43 $ 48
CC-CCS 51% 87% $1,726 $1,726 $ 39 $ 34 $ 7 $ 63 $ 75
Nuclear 92% 92% $5,085 $5,085 $ 7 $ 101 $ 2 $ 59 $ 59
Biopower 56% 56% $3,491 $3,799 $ 41 $ 112 $ 6 $ 81 $ 107
Geothermal 80% 90% $3,967 $30,353 $ 0 $ 135 $ 0 $ 67 $ 526
CSP with 10-hr TES 50% 64% $4,645 $4,645 $ 0 $ 51 $ 4 $ 47 $ 58
Non-Dispatchable
Wind Land-based 14% 55% $978 $1,052 $ 0 $ 33 $ 0 $ 17 $ 69
Offshore 32% 54% $1,594 $2,282 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 24 $ 52
Photovoltaic Utility 15% 27% $ 683 $ 683 $ 0 $ 8 $ 0 $ 18 $ 31
Commercial 12% 20% $1,014 $1,014 $ 0 $ 10 $ 0 $ 34 $ 56
Residential 13% 21% $1,070 $1,070 $ 0 $ 9 $ 0 $ 33 $ 54
Hydropower 60% 64% $4,022 $6,863 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 37 $ 68

LCOE Summary Table 2017-R&D + Market

CF Range CAPEX Range OPEX LCOE Range
Technology Min. (%) Max. (%) Min. ($/kW) Max. ($/kW) Fuel Costs ($/MWh) Fixed O&M ($/kW-yr) Variable O&M ($/MWh) Min. ($/MWh) Max. ($/MWh)
Dispatchable
Coal PC 54% 85% $3,993 $3,993 $ 18 $ 33 $ 5 $ 88 $ 126
IGCC 54% 85% $4,363 $4,363 $ 18 $ 54 $ 8 $ 99 $ 142
CCS-30% 54% 85% $5,573 $5,573 $ 20 $ 69 $ 7 $ 99 $ 140
CCS-90% 54% 85% $6,163 $6,163 $ 24 $ 80 $ 10 $ 113 $ 160
Natural Gas CT 7% 30% $ 916 $ 916 $ 33 $ 12 $ 7 $ 66 $ 155
CC 51% 87% $924 $924 $ 22 $ 11 $ 3 $ 33 $ 39
CC-CCS 51% 87% $2,285 $2,285 $ 25 $ 34 $ 7 $ 55 $ 71
Nuclear 92% 92% $6,670 $6,670 $ 7 $ 101 $ 2 $ 70 $ 70
Biopower 56% 56% $3,968 $4,161 $ 41 $ 112 $ 6 $ 87 $ 113
Geothermal 80% 90% $4,637 $35,468 $ 0 $ 135 $ 0 $ 81 $ 652
CSP with 10-hr TES 50% 64% $7,861 $7,861 $ 0 $ 66 $ 4 $ 93 $ 116
Non-Dispatchable
Wind Land-based 10% 48% $1,623 $1,623 $ 0 $ 44 $ 0 $ 17 $ 149
Offshore 28% 52% $3,757 $6,293 $ 0 $ 122 $ 0 $ 82 $ 171
Photovoltaic Utility 15% 27% $1,109 $1,109 $ 0 $ 20 $ 0 $ 28 $ 50
Commercial 12% 20% $1,854 $1,854 $ 0 $ 18 $ 0 $ 54 $ 89
Residential 13% 21% $2,770 $2,770 $ 0 $ 23 $ 0 $ 75 $ 123
Hydropower 60% 66% $4,010 $7,487 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 37 $ 71

LCOE Summary Table 2030-R&D + Market

CF Range CAPEX Range OPEX LCOE Range
Technology Min. (%) Max. (%) Min. ($/kW) Max. ($/kW) Fuel Costs ($/MWh) Fixed O&M ($/kW-yr) Variable O&M ($/MWh) Min. ($/MWh) Max. ($/MWh)
Dispatchable
Coal PC 54% 85% $3,828 $3,828 $ 19 $ 33 $ 5 $ 97 $ 139
IGCC 54% 85% $3,926 $3,926 $ 16 $ 54 $ 8 $ 101 $ 147
CCS-30% 54% 85% $5,208 $5,208 $ 20 $ 69 $ 7 $ 107 $ 154
CCS-90% 54% 85% $5,559 $5,559 $ 20 $ 80 $ 10 $ 119 $ 171
Natural Gas CT 7% 30% $ 849 $ 849 $ 37 $ 12 $ 7 $ 72 $ 168
CC 51% 87% $ 850 $ 850 $ 26 $ 11 $ 3 $ 38 $ 44
CC-CCS 51% 87% $1,981 $1,981 $ 31 $ 34 $ 7 $ 61 $ 77
Nuclear 92% 92% $6,180 $6,180 $ 7 $ 101 $ 2 $ 75 $ 75
Biopower 56% 56% $3,802 $3,989 $ 41 $ 112 $ 6 $ 94 $ 121
Geothermal 80% 90% $4,345 $33,231 $ 0 $ 135 $ 0 $ 74 $ 591
CSP with 10-hr TES 50% 64% $4,415 $5,589 $ 0 $ 51 $ 4 $ 61 $ 76
Non-Dispatchable
Wind Land-based 13% 54% $1,262 $1,262 $ 0 $ 39 $ 0 $ 25 $ 102
Offshore 30% 54% $2,633 $4,068 $ 0 $ 74 $ 0 $ 57 $ 133
Photovoltaic Utility 15% 27% $ 860 $ 860 $ 0 $ 10 $ 0 $ 25 $ 44
Commercial 12% 20% $1,265 $1,265 $ 0 $ 13 $ 0 $ 48 $ 79
Residential 13% 21% $1,408 $1,408 $ 0 $ 11 $ 0 $ 49 $ 80
Hydropower 60% 66% $4,010 $7,203 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 46 $ 84

LCOE Summary Table 2050-R&D + Market

CF Range CAPEX Range OPEX LCOE Range
Technology Min. (%) Max. (%) Min. ($/kW) Max. ($/kW) Fuel Costs ($/MWh) Fixed O&M ($/kW-yr) Variable O&M ($/MWh) Min. ($/MWh) Max. ($/MWh)
Dispatchable
Coal PC 54% 85% $3,600 $3,600 $ 19 $ 33 $ 5 $ 93 $ 133
IGCC 54% 85% $3,598 $3,598 $ 16 $ 54 $ 8 $ 96 $ 138
CCS-30% 54% 85% $4,684 $4,684 $ 21 $ 69 $ 7 $ 100 $ 143
CCS-90% 54% 85% $5,180 $5,180 $ 20 $ 80 $ 10 $ 111 $ 159
Natural Gas CT 7% 30% $ 798 $ 798 $ 48 $ 12 $ 7 $ 81 $ 172
CC 51% 87% $ 798 $ 798 $ 33 $ 11 $ 3 $ 44 $ 51
CC-CCS 51% 87% $1,721 $1,721 $ 29 $ 34 $ 7 $ 67 $ 81
Nuclear 92% 92% $5,471 $5,471 $ 7 $ 101 $ 2 $ 69 $ 69
Biopower 56% 56% $3,472 $3,779 $ 41 $ 112 $ 6 $ 91 $ 116
Geothermal 80% 90% $3,930 $30,061 $ 0 $ 135 $ 0 $ 69 $ 543
CSP with 10-hr TES 50% 64% $4,415 $5,589 $ 0 $ 51 $ 4 $ 52 $ 65
Non-Dispatchable
Wind Land-based 14% 55% $986 $1,061 $ 0 $ 33 $ 0 $ 20 $ 81
Offshore 32% 57% $1,587 $2,271 $ 0 $ 41 $ 0 $ 30 $ 61
Photovoltaic Utility 15% 27% $ 682 $ 682 $ 0 $ 8 $ 0 $ 19 $ 34
Commercial 12% 20% $1,012 $1,012 $ 0 $ 10 $ 0 $ 38 $ 62
Residential 13% 21% $1,070 $1,070 $ 0 $ 9 $ 0 $ 36 $ 60
Hydropower 60% 66% $4,010 $6,843 $ 0 $ 43 $ 0 $ 45 $ 81
Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is provided as summary metric; its limitations are described in the 2019 ATB Cost and Performance Summary. Here, 2019 ATB cost and performance are summarized by technology for the year specified. Monetary values are in 2017$. The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and relies on AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) for fossil, nuclear, and biopower plants.

Cost and Performance Summary Figures

The following figures illustrate CAPEX, capacity factor, and LCOE for the Base Year (2017), 2030, and 2050. The colored bars represent the range of characteristics for all representative plants included in the ATB. The black bars reflect representative ATB plant characteristics that align most closely with recently installed or anticipated near-term installations of electricity generation plants. For the renewable technologies, the ATB representative plants span the range of resource characteristics available within the contiguous United States. For fossil fuel technologies, the colored bars illustrate the effect of capacity factor assumptions.

The ATB plant characteristics (and associated resource quality) that most closely align with recently installed or anticipated near-term installations of electricity generation plants are as follows (see individual technology sections for description of ATB representative plant characteristics):

CAPEX Figures

2017
/electricity/2019/images/summary/capex-tech-comparison-1-2019.png
2030
/electricity/2019/images/summary/capex-tech-comparison-2-2019.png
2050
/electricity/2019/images/summary/capex-tech-comparison-3-2019.png
Values are in 2017$. The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and relies on AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) for fossil, nuclear, and biopower plants.

Capacity Factor Figures

2017
/electricity/2019/images/summary/capacity-factor-tech-comparison-1-2019.png
2030
/electricity/2019/images/summary/capacity-factor-tech-comparison-2-2019.png
2050
/electricity/2019/images/summary/capacity-factor-tech-comparison-3-2019.png
No financial cases are shown because no monetary information is associated with capacity factor. The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and relies on AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) for fossil, nuclear, and biopower plants.

Fuel Cost Figures

2017
/electricity/2019/images/summary/fuel-cost-tech-comparison-1-2019.png
2030
/electricity/2019/images/summary/fuel-cost-tech-comparison-2-2019.png
2050
/electricity/2019/images/summary/fuel-cost-tech-comparison-3-2019.png
High, Mid, and Low technology cost refer to fuel prices from specific projections in the AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) . Applies only to generation technologies that rely on a fuel source. Values are in 2017$.The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and relies on AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) for fossil, nuclear, and biopower plants.

LCOE Figures

R&D
R&D + Market
/electricity/2019/images/summary/lcoe-tech-comparison-1-RD-2019.png
/electricity/2019/images/summary/lcoe-tech-comparison-2-RD-2019.png
/electricity/2019/images/summary/lcoe-tech-comparison-3-RD-2019.png
/electricity/2019/images/summary/lcoe-tech-comparison-1-market-2019.png
/electricity/2019/images/summary/lcoe-tech-comparison-2-market-2019.png
/electricity/2019/images/summary/lcoe-tech-comparison-3-market-2019.png
Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is provided as summary metric; its limitations are described in the 2019 ATB Cost and Performance Summary. The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and relies on AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) for fossil, nuclear, and biopower plants.
The Representative Value for renewable technologies is calculated based on the resource quality that was used in recent or near-future plants in the Base Year (2017), in combination with the technology cost and performance and financial assumptions indicated. For coal and natural gas technologies, the Representative Value is calculated based on the fleetwide average capacity factor reported in AEO2019 (EIA, 2019) , in combination with the other technology cost and performance, fuel cost, and financial assumptions indicated.

References

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

EIA. (2019a). Annual Energy Outlook 2019 with Projections to 2050. Retrieved from U.S. Energy Information Administration website: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/AEO2019.pdf