Guest Excelling by David Middleton
Every year since at least 2014 the U.S. Energy Information Administration has published a report called Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources as part of their Annual Energy Outlook. I went through each report since 2014 and built an Excel spreadsheet to look at the year-to-year changes. What I found was fracking hilarious.
I specifically looked at the average Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for five (5) generation sources:
- Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle
- Advanced Nuclear
- Solar PV
- Wind – Onshore
- Wind – Offshore
The currency and year of entering service is noted on each line. Each year’s report estimates the average cost of power plants entering service in the near future in current U.S. dollars. I also included the outlook for 2040 that was in this year’s report, even though it is a wild-@$$ed guess.
LCOE by Energy Source
Who else is surprised by the fact that the capital costs for Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle have been cut in half since 2014?
Look ma, no subsidies! If nuclear power was subsidized like solar & wind… we might have already replaced coal with natural gas and nuclear power.
Despite all of the advances in technology, solar PV still doesn’t work 70% of the time.
Not bad… when the wind blows.
Ron White would say…
Total System LCOE Comparisons
LCOE as % of Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle
With the investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC), wind barely edged out natural gas on windy days for 3 years.
This set of files includes generator-level information on power plants that are 1) operable, 2) proposed, permitted and/or under construction, and 3) recently retired or cancelled. The most recent complete year is 2017. At the end of 2017 this is what was in the proposed tab…
Note that there are virtually no offshore wind turbines (30 MW) currently in the permitting/construction pipeline and battery installations are laughable. While there are MW 53,916 of natural gas combined cycle, 12,891 MW of natural gas combustion, and 1,187 MW of coal-fired capacity in the pipeline. Two of the three coal-fired generators are even listed as under construction. That’s just under 68,000 MW of fossil fuel-fired generation capacity vs just under 42,000 MW of onshore wind (27,531 MW) & solar PV (14,282 MW). Since it takes 2-4 MW of wind or solar to offset 1 MW of natural gas, coal or nuclear, it’s even more lopsided than it appears.