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2021 Electricity ATB Technologies and Data Overview

The 2021 Electricity ATB provides consistent, freely available, technology-specific cost and performance parameters across a range of R&D advancements scenarios, resource characteristics, sites, fuel prices, and financial assumptions for electricity-generating technologies, both at present and with projections through 2050. The parameters include:

  • Capital expenditures (CAPEX)
  • Operation and maintenance (O&M) expenditures
  • Capacity factors
  • Levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a summary metric for electricity-generating technologies.

Use the charts and table below to explore ranges, projections, and a summary of ATB data. Interact with the chart by selecting parameters. Or explore the meaning of the data by selecting "More details." You can also download 2021 ATB data.

LCOE ranges

Click the black arrow next to "More details" in the upper right to select parameters, including CAPEX, O&M, or capacity factor.

LCOE is a summary metric with important limitations. See definitions for Levelized cost of energyCAPEXcapacity factorO&Mfinancial cases, and all other terms used in the ATB.

Cost and performance are summarized by technology for the year specified. For details, see the Representative Technology section of each technology page (e.g., Land-Based Wind: Representative Technology). Monetary values are in 2019$.

The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and it relies on AEO2021 (EIA, 2021) for nuclear, and biopower plants, and the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management for coal and natural gas plants. Orange bars reflect the representative ATB plant characteristics, and blue bars represent the full range in the ATB. See technology detail for additional information. 

CC: combined cycle; CCS: carbon capture and storage; CSP: concentrating solar power; CT: combustion turbine; EGS: enhanced geothermal systems; IGCC: integrated gasification combined cycle; NF: near-field; NSD: new stream-reach development; NPD: non-powered dam; PC: pulverized coal; TES: thermal energy storage 

LCOE projections

Click the black arrow next to "More details" in the upper right to select parameters, including CAPEX, O&M, or capacity factor.

LCOE is a summary metric with important limitations. See definitions for Levelized cost of energyCAPEXcapacity factorO&M, and financial cases.

Cost and performance are summarized by technology for the year specified. For details, see the Representative Technology section of each technology page (e.g., Land-Based Wind: Representative Technology). Monetary values are in 2019$.

The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and it relies on AEO2021 (EIA, 2021) for nuclear and biopower plants, and the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management for coal and natural gas plants. 

CC: combined cycle; CCS: carbon capture and storage; CSP: concentrating solar power; CT: combustion turbine; EGS: enhanced geothermal systems; IGCC: integrated gasification combined cycle; MWh: megawatt-hour; NF: near-field; NSD: new stream-reach development; NPD: non-powered dam; PC: pulverized coal; TES: thermal energy storage 

Summary of Minimum and Maximum Values of CAPEX, Capacity Factor, O&M and LCOE 

Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is a summary metric with important limitations. See definitions for Levelized cost of energyCAPEXcapacity factorFCRO&M, and financial cases.

Here, 2021 ATB cost and performance are summarized by technology for the year specified. For details, see the Representative Technology section of each technology page. Monetary values are in 2019$. The ATB develops original data for renewable technologies, and it relies on AEO2021 (EIA, 2021) for nuclear and biopower plants, and the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management for coal and natural gas plants.  

CC: combined cycle; CCS: carbon capture and storage; CSP: concentrating solar power; CT: combustion turbine; EGS: enhanced geothermal systems; IGCC: integrated gasification combined cycle; NF: near-field; NSD: new stream-reach development; MMBtu: million British thermal units; NPD: non-powered dam; PC: pulverized coal; TES: thermal energy storage 

Assumptions

The figures and table illustrate the selected data dimensions, which are developed using the assumptions described briefly here; follow the links provided for additional information.

Representative Technologies and Parameters

The specifics of representative technologies, parameter definitions, historical trends, current estimates, and future projections used in the ATB are described in the respective technology section (e.g., Land-Based Wind). Links to definitions (e.g., LCOE) provide information that applies to all technologies

The levelized cost of energy is a summary metric that combines capital expenditures (CAPEX)operations expenditures (O&M)capacity factor, and projections for "conservative", "moderate", and "advanced" technology advancement scenarios. See levelized cost of energy for information about important limitations of LCOE.

Select a link in the table below to jump to the technology-specific description of each parameter.

Links to Technology-Specific Documentation of CAPEX, O&M, Capacity Factor, and Representative Technology

CAPEXO&MCapacity FactorRepresentative Technology
Land-Based WindLand-Based WindLand-Based WindLand-Based Wind
Offshore WindOffshore WindOffshore WindOffshore Wind
Utility-Scale PVUtility-Scale PVUtility-Scale PVUtility-Scale PV
Commercial PVCommercial PVCommercial PVCommercial PV
Residential PVResidential PVResidential PVResidential PV
CSPCSPCSPCSP
GeothermalGeothermalGeothermalGeothermal
HydropowerHydropowerHydropowerHydropower
Utility-Scale PV-Plus-BatteryUtility-Scale PV-Plus-BatteryUtility-Scale PV-Plus-BatteryUtility-Scale PV-Plus-Battery
Utility-Scale Battery StorageUtility-Scale Battery StorageUtility-Scale Battery StorageN/A
Commercial Battery StorageCommercial Battery StorageCommercial Battery StorageN/A
Residential Battery StorageResidential Battery StorageResidential Battery StorageN/A
Pumped-Storage HydropowerPumped-Storage HydropowerN/AN/A
Natural GasNatural GasN/AN/A
CoalCoalN/AN/A

Technology Innovation Scenarios

The ATB provides original technology advancement scenarios for renewable electricity-generating technologies. The ConservativeModerate, and Advanced scenarios that appear in tables and figures refer to a range of assumptions about technology advancement and associated cost and performance. For reference, the ATB provides natural gas, coal, nuclear, and biopower data.

Financial Assumptions Cases

Financial assumptions impact LCOE by changing the cost of capital to finance electricity generation projects. Two project finance structures are used within the ATB: a R&D Only Financial Assumptions Case (R&D Only case) and a Market + Policies Financial Assumptions Case (Market + Policies Case). Independent power producer financing structure is assumed.

Year

The ATB includes current estimates (for the base year) and projections (for the projected years) for each technology.

Cost Recovery Period

The ATB displays three cost recovery period options: 20 years, 30 years, and technical life.

Technology

Each of the technology-specific pages  (e.g., Land-Based Wind) describes the assumptions and methodologies used to develop the data for that technology.

Technology Detail

Technology detail indicates resource level and specific technology subcategories.

Methodology

Refer to ATB Approach and Methodology, 2021 for details about the methods used to develop the cost and performance projections.

References

The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.

EIA. “Annual Energy Outlook 2021.” Energy Information Administration, January 2021. https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/.


Developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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