Sunday, June 12, 2016

Construction Costs For Electric Power Generators -- EIA -- June 12, 2016


File under "I wish I had said this":  
In addition, wind has an online availability factor of about 30% whereas co-gen natural gas is about actually it's roughly 6 times as expensive. Also, co-gen natural gas is....... non-interruptible and you know....but rarely mention....(also worthy of mention is because wind needs 100% backup it is worth less than nothing...also as you know...).
I don't know if this analogy works or not. In some places, when a huge new retail store looks to move into a new community, the developers are required to finance and construct the necessary parking. It might be appropriate that interruptible power plants (wind and solar) be required to provide necessary back-up. In a sense, I suppose that's already being done -- the utility that builds the interruptible energy plant builds/maintains the back-up plant at the consumer's expense. As the reader noted, it's just not factored into the cost of the wind/solar power plant. The whole thing is ludicrous.

Original Post
EIA link here.

It took me a few minutes to figure out how to interpret this graph. There is no legend. This is the key:
  • the "black" diamond: average construction cost; $/kw
  • the "blue" bar: capacity installed in 2013
So, in the graphic below, in megawatts:
  • for natural gas: 7,411 MW installed in 2013 at an average cost of about $1,000/MW
  • for wind: 859 MW installed at an average cost of about $2,000/MW (or double that of natural gas)
  • for solar: 2,634 MW installed at an average cost of almost $4,000/MW (about about 4x that of natural gas)
  • biomass: very, very similar to solar in cost and added capacity
  • hydro- and geothermal: also relatively expensive, considering...

These are the kinds of graphs elementary and middle school students should be taught to analyze as part of the Common Core Curriculum.

At the linked site, the EIA also breaks down the type of natural gas generator: the conventional combustion turbine and the newer combined cycle.

Regardless of the type of solar PV generator installed, there was not much difference in cost. Most interesting would be to know whether the debacle at the Ivanpah Solar Plant was factored in.

What I find most amazing is how "old" this data is: this is from 2013. Certainly the EIA must know how much capacity was installed in 2015, and would even have the estimated costs (if not the final costs). 

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