The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in February 2020 published capital costs and performance characteristic estimates for 25 new electric power generating technologies. These estimates come from global engineering and design firm Sargent & Lundy (S&L), which the EIA commissioned to help accurately reflect the changing cost of new power generation technologies for the Annual Energy Outlook 2020.

According to S&L, the estimates are developed based on information about similar facilities recently built or are under development in the U.S. and abroad. “Developing the characteristics of each generating technology included the specification of representative plant sizes, configurations, major equipment, and emission controls. Sargent & Lundy’s cost assessment included the estimation of overnight capital costs, construction lead times, and contingencies as well as fixed and variable operating costs,” it said. S&L also reviewed recent market trends for the reference technologies and its extensive background in power plant design and experience in performing similar cost and performance assessments. A more detailed explanation is available in its report.

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How Costs Compare by Fuel Type

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The Data Table

Technology Description Net Nominal Capacity (kW) Net Nominal Heat Rate (Btu/Kwh) Capital Cost ($/kW) Fixed O&M Cost
($/kW-year)
Variable O&M Cost ($/MWh) NOx (lb/MMBtu) SO2 (lb/MMBtu) CO2 (lb/MMBtu))
650-MW USC Coal without Carbon Capture—Greenfield 1 x 735 MW Gross 650 8638 3676 40.58 4.50 0.06 0.09 206
650-MW USC Coal, 30% Carbon Capture 1 x 769 MW Gross 650 9751 4558 54.30 7.08 0.06 0.09 144
650-MW USC Coal, 90% Carbon Capture 1 x 831 MW Gross 650 12507 5876 59.54 10.98 0.06 0.09 20.6
Internal Combustion Engines 4 x 5.6 MW 21 8295 1810 35.16 5.69 0.02 0 117
Combustion Turbines—Simple Cycle (2 x LM6000) 2 x LM6000 105 9124 1175 16.30 4.7 0.09 0.00 117
Combustion Turbines—Simple Cycle (1 x GW7FA) 1 x GE 7FA 237 9905 713 7.00 4.5 0.03 0.00 117
Combined-Cycle 2x2x1, No Carbon Capture GE 7HA.02 1083 6370 958 12.20 1.87 0.0075 0.00 117
Combined-Cycle 1x1x1, Single Shaft, No Carbon Capture H Class 418 6431 1084 14.1 2.55 0.0075 0.00 117
Combined-Cycle 1x1x1, Single Shaft,
with 90% Carbon Capture
H-Class 377 7124 2481 27.6 5.84 0.0075 0.00 11.7
Fuel Cell 34 x 300 kW Gross 10 6469 6700 30.78 0.59 0.0002 0 117
Advanced Nuclear (Brownfield) 2 x AP1000 2156 10608 6041 121.64 2.37 0 0 0
Small Modular Reactor Nuclear Power Plant 12 x 50-MW Small Modular Reactor 600 10046 6191 95.00 3.00 0 0 0
50-MW Biomass Plant Bubbling Fluidized Bed 50 13300 4097 125.72 4.83 0.08 0.03 206
10% Biomass Co-Fire Retrofit 300-MW PC Boiler 30 +1.5% 705 25.57 1.90      
Geothermal Binary Cycle 50 N/A 2521 128.544 1.16 0 0 0
Internal Combustion Engines—Landfill Gas 4 x 9.1 MW 35.6 8513 1563 20.1 6.2 0.02 0 117
Hydroelectric Power Plant New Stream Reach Development 100 N/A 5316 29.86 0 0 0 0
200-MWh Battery Energy Storage System 50 MW | 200 MWh 50 N/A 1389 24.8 0 0 0 0
100-MWh Battery Energy Storage System 50 MW | 100 MWh 50 N/A 845 12.9 0 0 0 0
Onshore Wind—Large Plant Footprint: Great Plains Region 200 MW | 2.82 MW WTG 200 N/A 1265 26.34 0 0 0 0
Onshore Wind—Small Plant Footprint: Coastal Region 50 MW | 2.78 MW WTG 50 N/A 1677 35.14 0 0 0 0
Fixed-bottom Offshore Wind: Monopile Foundations 400 MW | 10 MW WTG 400 N/A 4375 110 0 0 0 0
Concentrating Solar Power Tower with Molten Salt Thermal Storage 115 N/A 7221 85.4 0 0 0 0
Solar PV w/ Single Axis Tracking 150 MWAC 150 N/A 1313 15.25 0 0 0 0
Solar PV with Single Axis Tracking +
Battery Storage
150 MWAC Solar
50 MW | 200 MWh
Storage
150 N/A 1755 31.27 0 0 0 0

Source: Capital Cost and Performance Characteristic Estimates for Utility Scale Electric Power Generating Technologies, EIA, February 2020. —Sonal Patel is a POWER senior associate editor (@sonalcpatel, @POWERmagazine).