Talk:Cost of electricity by source

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Argumentative Language[edit]

Take a look at the paragraph which begins 'Furthermore, with the ongoing process of whole nations being slowly plunged underwater, due to fossil fuel use'. Clearly partisan, someone should fix it.--71.232.34.73 (talk) 05:42, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

This is a new article, all claims must be cited[edit]

Wikipedia has thousands of older articles from the years before the current citation guidelines were put in place. For new articles, created as this one was on 2009-09-19, there is no policy allowance for addition of unsourced material into the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Please be sure that all additions to the Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources are verifiable. All assertions should have inline citations for each claim made. As a courtesy to the editor who who has added some of this uncited material in the past two weeks, I have tagged {{citation needed}} to allow a few days for sources to be added. But in the end, WP:V is a core WP policy, unsourced assertions have no place in Wikipedia. N2e (talk) 13:14, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Engineman for adding sources to several of the assertions that were previously unsourced. The article still needs considerable cleanup and copyediting; but now the susbstantive claims that I had previously removed can stay while the cleanup proceeds. N2e (talk) 13:28, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
A new introduction dealing with missing costs factors (so no one takes this old analysis too seriously) has many good references though not in proper citation form - there may be controversial assertions remaining, but as someone familiar enough with the material to write this off the cuff in an hour, I don't see any. Maybe someone less familiar with the material should have a look. The press is always making up nonsense on these issues, so what constitutes obvious fact to the expert may look strange to the layperson.

Adding more in-depth descriptions of the inputs for a relative cost calculation[edit]

Has anyone considered expanding the bullet list into small chapters describing the inputs to the cost calculations in more detail? Also, has anyone considered adding some of the main critiques on these calculations (such as Awerbuch, S. 2006, The Economics of Wind. A Critique of IEA and Other Levelized Cost Methodologies.)? GNOJED3891 (talk) 05:21, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

That absolutely must be done. No general notes up front cautioning the reader can subsittute for a good explanation of the assumptions per each "source". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.192.94.114 (talk) 21:10, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Can somebody add to the article, how the variation in discount rate effects the levelised cost graphically.124.123.220.131 (talk) 15:51, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merger.[edit]

I have proposed to merge this article into "Levelised Energy Cost". See Talk:Levelised energy cost GNOJED3891 (talk) 16:59, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I disagree, "Cost_of_electricity_by_source" should be an article by itself, that references the separate article "Levelised Energy Cost", This "Levelised Energy Cost" article should only explain "Levelised Energy Cost" and the examples of specific countries should be removed. "Levelised Energy Cost" is a more or less stable concept.

"Cost_of_electricity_by_source" can then focus on the ever changing cost and its factors. I think it is understandable that these cost factors keep changing, because technology develops, leading to lower costs for sustainable sources. And because of environmental claims and rules, non sustainable sources keep getting more expensive. Changes are also cause by political decisions, e.g. to give priority to sustainable sources over fossile sources.

Can someone make the title of the page "Levelised Energy Cost" the same as the url? This page has the title of the page it was copied from "Cost_of_electricity_by_source" Henk Daalder (talk) 11:18, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Problems that still need to be fixed[edit]

This article still needs a lot of work. Some things to be addressed include:

  • Citations - This article needs more of them, and they need to be from places other than Claverton Energy.
  • Like topics - Needs to be merged with other related articles
  • The intro (or lack thereof)
  • The first section - Weasel worded pathetic excuse for three paragraphs. While we need to discuss the problems associated with cost analysis, this section wouldn't help anyone.
  • Wikification - I worked on it but it still needs more.
  • The title - Needs to be changed, but not sure to what.

Comments? --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 21:25, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

  • How do you compute the LCOE for limited supplies (coal, gaz, oil, you don't know what will be the prices of these fuels in 10 or 20 years) / unlimited ressources ; wind, solar
  • what are the estimated used for coal and gaz prices in the different tables, over which period ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chrisaiki (talkcontribs) 08:17, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Department of Energy chart[edit]

Here is a chart that can be added to the article: (This chart is already out of date as wind and solar PV are at least 20% below what is listed for 3 years in the future)

Levelized energy cost.jpg

I may get around eventually to inserting the chart into the article. Feel free to do it sooner. Chart description page has more info. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:25, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Despite what the article said, subsidies and mandates ARE assumed in the calculations that produced these tables. This is stated in footnote 2 to the cited summary of the report http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html, and details may be found here: http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/renewable.html.

"The RFM includes the investment and energy production tax credits codified in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT 92) as amended. The investment tax credit established by EPACT 92 provides a credit to Federal income tax liability worth 10 percent of initial investment cost for a solar, geothermal, or qualifying biomass facility. This credit was raised to 30 percent through 2016 for some solar projects and extended to residential projects. This change is reflected in the utility, commercial and residential modules. The production tax credit, as established by EPACT 92, applied to wind and certain biomass facilities. As amended, it provides a 2.1 cent tax credit for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced for the first 10 years of operation for a wind facility constructed by December 31, 2012 or by December 31, 2013 for other eligible facilities. The value of the credit, originally 1.5 cents, is adjusted annually for inflation." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.209.68.193 (talk) 06:08, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

(Note: The old discussion from Talk:Levelised energy cost was copied over to here.)

This is an excellent article but it should be amalgamated / combined whatever with *Relative cost of electricity generated by different sourcesEngineman (talk) 13:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree, and I have placed the merger proposal tags on the respective pages. I would propose to merge the two into "levelised energy cost", since that term is by my knowledge the most commonly used one. GNOJED3891 (talk) 16:51, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Levelised Energy Cost is probably the correct titel for the article, but it is not one that most people who are interest in the cost of electricty - journalists say or other pundits, and the general public would know about and hence look up - so i think the Relative cost of electricy ........one is a btter title,............IMHOPEngineman (talk) 20:11, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

I think the "Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources" title makes more sense to the average reader. The title might be improved further. "Levelised energy cost" can be redirected to it. That way people searching for "Levelised energy cost" and arriving at that redirect page will also make it to the article. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:17, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

I merged these articles not too long ago but it was struck down. I still think a merge is in order, and I never bothered to remove the LEC info from the other page. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 14:24, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

New discussion about merging articles into Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources[edit]

(Note: {{mergeto}} and {{mergefrom}} tags were added to the articles. See Wikipedia:Merging and moving pages#Proposing a merger.)

Comment. Everybody in the previous discussion supports merging the 2 articles. Most people want to merge Levelised energy cost into Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources. So far, 4 people support this and 1 person wants to merge into Levelised energy cost. --Timeshifter (talk) 07:16, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Support. Wikipedia uses common names and phrasing in titles. See WP:NAME#Deciding an article title. The better, clearer, simpler, and more descriptive title is Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources. --Timeshifter (talk) 07:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Why not simplify the title at the same time - the present title is unlikely to be a search term. How about Cost of electricity? --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:03, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
It does contain the search term. I could see people searching for "Relative cost of electricity", too. Not sure "different sources" is required. But perhaps this article should also include the absolute cost of electricity? GreenReaper (talk) 18:40, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Maybe, "Cost of electricity generated by different sources." This is general enough to cover long and short-term costs. Subsidized and unsubsidized cost comparisons. With and without cleanup costs. Worst-case and best-case scenarios for environmental costs. And so on. --Timeshifter (talk) 19:01, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
The fist suggestion clearly does not work, as that should be a redirect to Electricity tariff (a page which, itself, needs to be moved, but that's another story). Maybe a simple title that would still convey the message is Cost of electricity by source. Oh, and I support the merge, obviously. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 19:23, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
"Cost of electricity by source" is a clear, short title. "Overall cost of electricity by source" may be a good title too. I left a note, and supported the merge, at Talk:Electricity tariff#Merge discussion. I suggested a simpler title there. --Timeshifter (talk) 06:18, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Support: A good, combined, well structured article would do. Rehman(+) 13:16, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

I think we have rough consensus to go ahead and combine them? --Timeshifter (talk) 10:13, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Cost of electricity by source[edit]

I don't see any objection to this merged article title:

Cost of electricity by source

Levelised energy cost (LEC) can be made a subsection of that article. I left a note at User talk:Wwoods. See this past note from User:Fiftytwo thirty:

I merged these articles not too long ago but it was struck down. I still think a merge is in order, and I never bothered to remove the LEC info from the other page. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 14:24, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Levelised energy cost would redirect to the new article title. Nothing would be lost. --Timeshifter (talk) 15:32, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Levelized (or levelised) cost of energy (LCoE) is a significant, well-established metric. I don't think it should be reduced to a redirect. If you want to make this article a list of various cost estimates, fine. (Though "Relative" to what?)
—WWoods (talk) 16:37, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Did you read the previous discussion? LCoE may be a significant phrase, but not common to most people. "Relative" would not be in the title of the merged article. It would not be just a list of various cost estimates. It would be as indepth as Levelised energy cost, and would be more comprehensive than the Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources. Wikipedia is not paper. See WP:PAPER. --Timeshifter (talk) 21:14, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) Seeing no objection I moved this article to Cost of electricity by source. --Timeshifter (talk) 15:35, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Notice at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers[edit]

Following the suggestion at Help:Merging#Caveats concerning controversial merges I left a notice at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers#Current requests. It currently says "Merge Levelised energy cost into Cost of electricity by source." It points to discussion on this talk page.

New discussion[edit]

There is a "see also" link in this article pointing to Levelised energy cost. There is much duplication in the two articles. Levelised energy cost covers the cost of electricity. As does Cost of electricity by source. This duplication confuses readers, and it slows down editing of this topic.

People going to either article do not get a full picture of the topic of the cost of electricity. If the information were combined into one article readers would get a much more comprehensive understanding. This is a timely topic and deserves focused editing in one location. --Timeshifter (talk) 16:19, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Which cost are we describing?[edit]

Are we talking about cost to the end user of the energy, or cost to the utility? People spend whole careers pricing electricity, we need to define what we're trying to talk about here. --Wtshymanski (talk) 04:01, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Please see Levelised energy cost, Electricity pricing, and Talk:Electricity pricing#Merge discussion. --Timeshifter (talk) 07:39, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Wholesale cost, I would say, is what the article is presently about. Private market factors and retail market factors are dealt with under "missing costs" incidentally. There is no one "cost" because electricity varies so much in price during the day that it really isn't a commodity in the normal sense of the word - the wholesale market itself is the only guideline, but if you use that, then you must include negawatts as they are also sold in wholesale markets

CRINGE at this line "The marginal cost of production at very low levels of output should be relatively low." Non-sequitur (depends on the fuel cost). Irrelevant because at "very low levels of output" (relative to capacity) fixed capacity cost would bankrupt a very capital intensive electricity generating firm. Equivalent to saying at a household level, working small number of hours per month one could earn a high rate of hourly pay (but, you would still be evicted because one could not pay the month's rent (fixed cost)). Jim.Callahan,Orlando (talk) 17:20, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

The proposed merger makes eminent sense —Preceding unsigned comment added by Paul Brothwell (talkcontribs) 12:26, 23 July 2010

I left a note at User talk:Wwoods. --Timeshifter (talk) 12:56, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Article for deletion discussion[edit]

See: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Levelised energy cost. --Timeshifter (talk) 15:41, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Levelised energy cost (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views)
Click the history link to find the last version of that article. Parts of that article might be copied and then pasted to this article. Then edit further, and integrate with the material here. The last version of that article:
--Timeshifter (talk) 11:52, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Chart tools[edit]

See: Commons:Create charts and graphs online. --Timeshifter (talk) 16:49, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Things you could never expect the reader to figure out[edit]

The price of electricity is measured in units of local currency per unit of electricity. I wonder what else the reader was expecting, that he needs to have his nose rubbed in the perfectly obvious. --Wtshymanski (talk) 22:48, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

What are you talking about? I have noticed that many of your remarks are belittling and uncivil. Please don't be a dick. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:35, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
The arrogance of Wikipedia edits must be firmly kept in check. We msut not waste the reader's time with the bleeding obvious. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
You are wasting people's time with your arrogance. Please give it a rest. By the way, you screwed up one of my last edits by removing the unsigned template from another talk section. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:44, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Cost Factors, Other Costs To Include[edit]

Land Acquisition or Land Allocation seems like it should be a cost factor. In addition, the environmental impact to human and wild communities needs to be factored in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Moadeeb (talkcontribs) 19:11, 6 February 2011

The fact that these things aren't counted is now a major subject of the up-front introduction. Feel free to break out land costs, and note this applies to transmission too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.192.94.114 (talk) 21:14, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Waste disposal costs and health costs[edit]

I would like to see some tables factoring in longterm waste disposal costs and health costs. Especially for all forms of nuclear power. Are the new, smaller nuclear power modules better in this regard? Who says? Why should they be believed considering past mistakes in estimating those huge costs? --Timeshifter (talk) 14:42, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Cost of solar / coal energy[edit]

The following was moved from the Talk:Solar energy page with permission of participants.--E8 (talk) 00:41, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

  • This was added to the main, but is inconsistent with other values I've seen reported:

Solar power costs about $275 per megawatt-hour to produce compared with $60 for a coal-fired power plant.[1]

  • These cost figures are substantially different than others I've seen reportedl; most reports I've read, though vague, indicate "about" or "less than double" cost when comparing these costs. This cited source does not appear to be easily accessible (so data collection time frame and reporting methods are inaccessible). Does anyone have reliable costs data for solar vs coal?--E8 (talk) 13:08, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    The article in Bloomberg gave that figure in the context that the high cost of producing solar energy was one of the reasons the government of Spain was planning on ending subsidies for the production of solar power. The high cost of producing the energy with solar technology was more than the Spanish government could afford. If no other cost figure can be found, then I suggest readding the text, but attribute it to Bloomberg. Cla68 (talk) 23:30, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    Looking in Infotrac, I found an article in Pakistan & Gulf Economist which said that solar energy costs $2.5 per KWH, compared with $1 per KWH for natural gas and $1.5 per KWH for oil-based power production. So that number appears to support the Bloomberg number. (Source: "COAL: A POTENTIAL ALTERNATE TO OIL AND GAS." Pakistan & Gulf Economist 5 Dec. 2010) Cla68 (talk) 23:58, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    A 2001 article in Red Herring stated that photovoltaic energy cost 18 to 20 cents per kWh compared with 4 to 6 cents per kWh for fossil fuels (Bruno, Lee. "POTENTIAL ENERGY : Renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and fuel cells become a cost-efficient alternative to oil and coal." Red Herring Nov. 2001: 60). Cla68 (talk) 00:17, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
    The Bloomberg numbers substantially different than those found on Cost of electricity by source. I'll move this discussion to Talk:Cost of electricity by source.--E8 (talk) 00:26, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
    July 2009 article from the Australian Associated Press, quoting Australian government figures: "The cost of various energy options per unit of energy (megawatt hour): Wind = $60 Gas = $60 Coal = $60 Coal with cleaner-coal technology = $85 Solar = $100." ("Fed: The costs of various energy options." AAP News 24 July 2009). Cla68 (talk) 00:28, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

There will invariable be differences in cost by location for both, as coal needs to be transported from the mine to power plants, and there are transmission costs for solar. The Bloomberg numbers have me wondering, as they are so different than other reliable reports. I'm a tad skeptical, but also curious as to what might be the cause(s). As for page inclusion, perhaps one of the regular editors here can offer suggestions for this additional data or offer more sources.--E8 (talk) 00:48, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

The coal numbers were consistent in the articles I found- $60 per MWH. There is a wide range of numbers for the cost of solar, from $100 to $275 per MWH, with Bloomberg's numbers at the high end of the scale. Let's see if we can find some more sources and numbers. Cla68 (talk) 00:55, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
If there are no further discussion or proposed additional sources, I'll go ahead and add the numbers and sources listed above to the related articles. Cla68 (talk) 01:16, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
You can find pretty much any number you want for the levelised cost of any generation - even from "Reliable Sources". There are several reasons for this: different financing / discount rates are assumed; different lifetimes; and market costs are observed with different capacity factors and at different times. If we want this page to be meaningful, then with each cost given, we need to set out each of those factors for each cost; and we need to reject any numbers where we can't establish what was used in the calculation. (oh, and for PV, any prices more than 2 years old are likely to be too high due to the high learning rate in the industry). (

Module cost falls by 20% per doubling of PV capacity. margins and pricing are highly dependent on supply and demand and government policy.) Even 1 year old prices can be 30% out.Oldboltonian (talk) 08:00, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

An example of a bad levelised cost cite: wind us$60/MWh. An example of a good levelised cost cite: wind us$60/MWh (2010 prices, 27% capacity factor, 8% finance rate, 20 year life) (I just made that up to illustrate - I didn't get it from an RS)
So, in summary, the checklist of eight variables needed is :
technology, currency, price per MWh, year, capacity factor, finance rate, length of life, source
ErnestfaxTalk 06:01, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and if financing period is different to length of life, we'd need to know what financing period was used in the calculations too. ErnestfaxTalk 08:54, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that we need to have such a strict requirement for inclusion of a number in the article. If Newsweek says in April 2009 that natural gas-powered electricty costs $75/MWh, then we can say it exactly like that in the article. Cla68 (talk) 05:18, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
This article is about comparisons. Without those metadata, no meaningful comparison is possible. Any source, however reputable, can pick the financing rate it likes to get the end result it likes. So "gas-powered electricity costs $75/MWh" is a useless number, utterly meaningless. It can only have meaning if we know the metadata around it. Now, it may be fine for Newsweek to churn out meaningless numbers, but that's no reason for Wikipedia to do the same. ErnestfaxTalk 05:32, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I've got a new source which says that solar power currently cost $1.80 per watt in 2010, but was expected to fall to $1.50 per watt by the end of this year. You don't think this figure should be added to the article, even though it's reliably and verifiably sourced? Cla68 (talk) 22:17, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────From WP:NEWSORG: "Mainstream news sources are generally considered to be reliable. However, even the most reputable news outlets occasionally contain errors. Whether a specific news story is reliable for a specific fact or statement in a Wikipedia article is something that must be assessed on a case by case basis." The popular press guidelines further detail some of the problems with main stream media reporting on scientific topics.--E8 (talk) 00:04, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

It has come down substantially. Today it's said to cost less than $1 per watt[1]. The reason some old articles show high amount is because it's said that before 2010, the cost was very high and some use the same old figures to calculate the present cost. Hence the error[2]. So it's time to update the article and make sure Solar is shown as the cheapest source of electricity generation. To make sure that the correct values for solar is shown in the article, always go for the latest news source.Solarischeaper (talk) 06:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Its also important to distinguish between the incremental cost of a watt of solar panel, and the actual per-watt cost of a complete grid-connected facility. Since manufacturers are rational and there's a great deal of subsidy money being handed out, manufacturers have built more capacity for making panels, reducing their cost. However, inverters, structural elements, transmission lines, land, etc. have not gotten any cheaper. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)


Marginal Costs[edit]

An additional key issue that has not been addressed is the marginal cost of energy production. Levelised costs provide data on average costs, but do not provide information about marginal costs, which help determine the amount of supply of energy. For a resource such as crude oil, the marginal cost of producing an extra barrel of crude oil would be significant and depend on inputs such as additional labor and drilling fluids. For solar energy, however, the marginal cost would be close to zero since there are almost no additional costs of producing an extra unit of energy using an existing solar panel.

In a situation where a solar energy supplier was producing 1 kWh, and wanted to increase output to 2 kWh, the extra unit of kWh would cost the supplier almost nothing. The reasoning comes from the fact that the cost of two hours of sunshine is equivalent to no more than 1 hour of sunshine.

EEP100 - Solar Fall 2012 (talk) 19:24, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

http://cleantechnica.com/2012/02/29/how-german-solar-has-made-all-german-electricity-cheaper/

http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/RE_Technologies_Cost_Analysis-SOLAR_PV.pdf — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CCD3:1940:3128:66CF:F8DA:A892 (talk) 11:45, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

CO2 adjustments are hopelessly confusing these numbers[edit]

I noticed a lot of discussion on why the coal prices are so much higher than those provided by other sources.

Buried in the DOE/EIA article is the explanation. These numbers include an adjustment that is equivalent to a $15/metric ton carbon tax:

"a 3-percentage point increase in the cost of capital is added when evaluating investments in greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive technologies like coal-fired power and coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants without carbon control and sequestration (CCS). While the 3-percentage point adjustment is somewhat arbitrary, in levelized cost terms its impact is similar to that of a $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fee"

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html

That's all well and good, but it raises some questions.

  1. Why not be transparent and show the carbon tax effect separately?
  2. Is there a carbon tax adjustment for natural gas production?
  3. If not, why not?
  4. Is the DOE/EIA being deceptive or trying to push natural gas?

It all seems a bit strange if not deceptive. We have the cost broken down by fixed capital and variable cost so we should also be able to see the carbon tax cost as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.193.248.20 (talk) 21:22, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for finding that info, and putting it in the article. --Timeshifter (talk) 12:53, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Propose de-merger[edit]

As the original author of the Levelised Energy Cost page, I would like to propose that the LEC definition and indicative data be de-merged from the current compilation of LEC costings from far and wide.

LEC is a simply-defined concept and applies more broadly than just to "cost of electricity by source". It can be used to compare different project proposals, for example, where the energy source is equal. It can be used to compare different coal power stations where small changes to the energy conversion cycle are proposed. For these reasons, its definition needs to be kept separate from the present page.

On the other hand, the compilation of LEC for competing energy technologies is really important and valuable, and it's great to see how this page has grown. But I think they two pages belong apart.

Any serious objections there? Jdpipe (talk)

Oppose A description of levelised cost without real-world numbers is only a dictionary entry, not an encyclopaedia entry. A set of numbers without their definition is useless. And "indicative data" is a minefield - the real-world ranges on each technology are so wide that they dwarf the differences between technologies. The definition, and a discussion of the wide range of levelised costs, belong together. See #Merger proposal , above ErnestfaxTalk 18:13, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I disagree... it's an important formula and an analysis technique that is taught in some university courses as a topic of its own; there are issues to be discussed in relation to the method of its use, importance of the cost of money, different item costs that one might include and not include (cost of emissions, for example...), standards that apply to the use of the term, and these are quite beside the data of the kind of this page. As I mentioned, there is also the fact that LEC is used not only for comparison between electricity 'by source' (as per page title) but for costing of projects, changes to existing systems, and even for costing sub-systems, eg energy storage systems. These things are all outside the scope of this page, in my opinion. However, I agree that we can do without the indicative data, and instead refer to the full discussion given on this page. Jdpipe (talk) 09:42, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Oppose. Maybe if the article gets too long it can be spun off into more articles. But I agree with Ernestfax that the definition belongs with the numbers. So if we get a long section on various coal power stations then we can create an article with a title like "Cost of electricity from coal." And then "Cost of electricity from wind power." And so on. By the way, any relevant LEC info not merged can still be merged by copying it from here:
Levelised energy cost (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views)
Click the history link to find the last version of that article. Parts of that article might be copied and then pasted to this article. Then edit further, and integrate with the material here. The last version of that article:
I find the current page completely messy and very poorly edited... I think it has basically been operating as a scrapbook for different people who have posted data from their country. The old LEC page was much tidier, and a better source for understanding the basic concept, IMO. Jdpipe (talk) 09:42, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Unsubsidized costs[edit]

Didn't this article used to compare energy costs as if there were no subsidies? Seems like such a section would still be valuable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.80.128.207 (talk) 21:05, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

There are enormous hidden subsidies, and unfair cost burdens, totally missing -- and of course difficult to compute, but not so difficult to mention. Coal is said to receive no subsidies, but in fact if the standards of environmental damage which are required of nuclear were enforced for coal, it might well become totally uncompetitive even without considering the environmental cost of the carbon dioxide emissions. Even for coal to emit as little radioactivity as a nuclear power plant, per gigawatt-year of actual production, when burning billions of tons of coal containing several parts per million of uranium and thorium, might pose insuperable problems of particulate capture in the smokestacks.

Then again, the distribution grid is expected to bear essentially the entire burden of the wild fluctuations in the power of the locally ambient wind used by the turbine farms. It does so either with hydroelectric power or gas turbines. Such a burden was enough to have caused the recall of the governor of California, when there was not enough snowfall the previous winter to supply the hydro dams. Consumers were charged enormous prices for the energy to be supplied when demand peaked. Strong winds are gusty, and therefore impose the equivalent of peaks in the demand when they drop.

The chief advantage that gas and coal have over nuclear is that fact that environmentalists, although they oppose both, fail to temper their opposition to construction in proportion to the actual historical record of environmental damage. 72.66.41.45 (talk) 20:42, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Levelised costs[edit]

The section of levelised costs should be demerged and needs substantial correction. It needs to be demerged as it applies to all investment projects, whether they be steel works or wind turbines. It needs correction in the following respects:

  1. It ignores the effect of taxation and of fiscal depreciation on the effective levelised cost. Most investment decision are made on an after tax basis and the effective unit capital cost therefore needs to consider tax and tax timing.
  2. It ignores inflation - the formula as given is typical of a US definition. Elsewhere, companies and governments use a real terms definition of levelized costs.
  3. It implicitly assumes that the discount rate is the same across asset types. This may not be the case where there are significant differences in project risk.

Hambath (talk) 08:21, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Support. I proposed something similar above, but it was earlier opposed. You comment about 'levelised cost' as a generalisation of 'levelised energy cost' is quite valid, and redirecting people interested in the more general issue will be confused by redirection to the present page. Jdpipe (talk) 02:18, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I checked the history and found that "levelized cost" was redirected to "levelized energy cost" a long time ago. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Levelized_cost&redirect=no
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Levelized_cost&action=history
I think the general topic of "levelized cost" is worthy of a separate page, but not the more specific topic of "levelized energy cost". --Timeshifter (talk) 02:32, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Subsidies?[edit]

Who keeps removing any mention of subsidies from the section on American LEC? The EIA study whose table is reproduced here explicitly includes subsidies and renewable mandates in the LEC estimates for renewable fuels:

http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/renewable.html

Subsidies: "The RFM includes the investment and energy production tax credits codified in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT 92) as amended. The investment tax credit established by EPACT 92 provides a credit to Federal income tax liability worth 10 percent of initial investment cost for a solar, geothermal, or qualifying biomass facility. This credit was raised to 30 percent through 2016 for some solar projects and extended to residential projects. This change is reflected in the utility, commercial and residential modules. The production tax credit, as established by EPACT 92, applied to wind and certain biomass facilities. As amended, it provides a 2.1 cent tax credit for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced for the first 10 years of operation for a wind facility constructed by December 31, 2012 or by December 31, 2013 for other eligible facilities. The value of the credit, originally 1.5 cents, is adjusted annually for inflation. With the various amendments, the production tax credit is available for electricity produced from qualifying geothermal, animal waste, certain small-scale hydroelectric, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, and additional biomass resources. Wind, poultry litter and geothermal, and "closed loop" [12] biomass resources receive a 2.1 cent tax credit for the first 10 years of facility operations. All other renewable resources receive a 1 cent tax credit for the first 10 years of facility operations. EIA assumes that biiomass facilities obtaining the PTC will use "open-loop" fuels, as "closed-loop" fuels are assumed to be unavailable and/or too expensive for widespread use during the period that the tax credit is available. The investment and production tax credits are exclusive of one another, and may not both be claimed for the same geothermal facility (which is eligible to receive either)."

Mandates: "EIA represents various state-level policies generally referred to as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). These policies vary significantly among states, but typically require the addition of renewable generation to meet a specified share of state-wide generation. Any non-discretionary limitations on meeting the generation or capacity target are modeled to the extent possible. However, because of the complexity of the various requirements, the regional target aggregation (described below), and nature of some of the limitations (also described below), measurement of compliance is assumed to be approximate."

The article as first written claimed no subsidies were included in the LEC calculations; when I changed that to say that they were, all mention of it was subsequently removed. Why? Why do people not need to know that subsidies are included in the LEC calculations? All we have is a mention near the beginning, "Should the costs of government subsidies be included in the calculated LEC?" But this is deceptive--subsidies ARE included for the US figures at any rate.Shrikeangel (talk) 20:26, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Who is removing things? Please provide diffs. Feel free to clarify anything in the article. Please be sure to add references, too. Stuff gets removed if there are no references. Maybe that is what happened. People edit different parts of the article over time. No one seems to be editing the whole article. A lot of people edit and run. --Timeshifter (talk) 21:02, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Maybe the same person who put "citation needed" and "dubious discuss" on my edit? The source for my edit is the same EIA study that the table in article comes from. So I've added a formal cite for that--which I think unnecessary since that whole section is concerned with the EIA study.Shrikeangel (talk) 11:37, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Maybe you are paranoid? You start off saying "Who keeps removing any mention of subsidies from the section on American LEC?" You don't point out what was removed with a diff, and then you accuse me of removing your stuff without proof. Rude. Do you know what a diff is? See the history of the page, and try to be specific. It is not rocket science, and a student of physics should be able to figure it out.
The main reference for the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tables is this:
Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011. Released December 16, 2010. Report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
I haven't had time to look at your info and references in detail, but you seem to be referencing something else:
http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/renewable.html - Assumptions to the Annual Energy Outlook 2010 Report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy(DOE)
http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/pdf/appendixa.pdf Appendix A: Handling of Federal and Selected State Legislation and Regulation in the Annual Energy Outlook: Report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy(DOE).
I don't see after a quick look that you have shown that the info you discuss was incorporated in the tables in this section:
Cost of electricity by source#US Department of Energy estimates
Please be specific in the article as to how the subsidies you discuss were incorporated mathematically in the tables. As in percentages, cents per kilowatt-hour, etc.. I don't doubt that subsidies are discussed in many places in various U.S. Energy Information Administration articles. But that does not necessarily mean they were incorporated mathematically in the tables. Please be more rigorous in your work. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:58, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
You took a "quick look"? Did you scroll to the bottom of http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/renewable.html to footnote 2 where it says "The specific assumptions for each of these factors are given in the Assumptions to the Annual Energy Outlook, available at http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/index.html"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shrikeangel (talkcontribs) 15:31, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
You really think I need to go through the EIA calculations in detail, on this discussion page, with you instead of merely citing the source? The EIA study is not confined to one web page. The table comes from one out of many pages of the report. The "RFM" refers to the Renewable Fuels Module that is used to calculate the table cited in the Wikipedia article. It is a lengthy and detailed set of calculations compiled by experts, which is not given in excruciating detail in the EIA report itself. It is cited in the report, however, which you would know if you had taken more than a "quick look":
[1] For a comprehensive description of each submodule, see Energy Information Administration, Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting, Model Documentation, Renewable Fuels Module of the National Energy Modeling System, DOE/EIA-M069(2005), (Washington, DC, March 2005).
What I am citing is the sections of the report that explain the assumptions used to generate that table. It's really not as complicated as you are trying to make out. I am referencing the SAME report as the table. I don't understand your rationale for demanding that I reproduce those calculations here--I don't see that level of rigor demanded anywhere else. Citing the report's own statements of the assumptions used to generate the report should be enough, shouldn't it? I think I've more than satisfied any reasonable demand for citations. Can you explain why this level of detail is demanded for this particular statement, but not any others? If not, i think my statment with its perfectly valid citations deserves to stand without demanded that I perform economic modeling on this discussion page.Shrikeangel (talk) 15:09, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
A summary of the calculations in the Annual Energy Outlook is given here:
http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/assumption/introduction.html
"This report presents the major assumptions of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) used to generate the projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2010 [1] (AEO2010), including general features of the model structure, assumptions concerning energy markets, and the key input data and parameters that are the most significant in formulating the model results. Detailed documentation of the modeling system is available in a series of documentation reports [2]...."
"The integrating module of NEMS controls the execution of each of the component modules. To facilitate modularity, the components do not pass information to each other directly but communicate through a central data storage location. This modular design provides the capability to execute modules individually, thus allowing decentralized development of the system and independent analysis and testing of individual modules. This modularity allows use of the methodology and level of detail most appropriate for each energy sector. NEMS solves by calling each supply, conversion, and end-use demand module in sequence until the delivered prices of energy and the quantities demanded have converged within tolerance, thus achieving an economic equilibrium of supply and demand in the consuming sectors. Solution is reached annually through the projection horizon. Other variables are also evaluated for convergence such as petroleum product imports, crude oil imports, and several macroeconomic indicator...."
"Each NEMS component also represents the impact and cost of Federal legislation and regulation that affect the sector and reports key emissions. NEMS generally reflects all current legislation and regulation that are defined sufficiently to be modeled as of October 31, 2009, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which was enacted in mid-February 2009, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (EIEA2008) signed iinto law on October 3, 2008; the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA2007), which was signed into law on December 19, 2007; and the cost of compliance with regulations (such as stationary diesel regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in July 2006). The AEO2010 models do not represent the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), which was vacated and remanded by the D.C. Circuit Court of the U.S. Court of Appeals on February 8, 2008, but it does represent State requirements for the reduction of mercury emissions. The AEO2010 reference case reflects the temporary reinstatement of the NOx and SO2 cap-and-trade programs included in the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) [3] due to the ruling issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the district of Columbia on December 23, 2008. However, the potential impacts of pending or proposed Federal and State legislation, regulations, or standards—or of sections of legislation that have been enacted but that require implementing regulations or appropriation of funds that are not provided or specified in the legislation itself—are not reflected in NEMS. A list of the specific Federal and selected State legislation and regulations included in the AEO, including how they are incorporated, is provided in Appendix A."
Sorry to go tl;dr here but you asked for it. That costs in the table cited in this article are calculated as the output of a complicated economic modeling program. It starts from various assumptions, including production tax credits and generation/purchasing mandates for renewables, and then SIMULATES THE US ECONOMY. So it is impossible for me to just tell you by how many cents per kw-hr the costs change if you don't include subsidies. I'd have to a) have the model and b) run it without those assumptions and c) figure out the new levelised costs. Which you have to admit is a little much to ask of me, don't you think? And it would be original research besides.
Instead, what I did was cite the sections of the report, which the report says contains the assumptions used to calculate the costs in the table. Can you tell me why that is the wrong thing to do?Shrikeangel (talk) 15:17, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
The problem is in determining what subsidies were actually applied to the table. The table article ("Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011") states: "The availability of various incentives including state or federal tax credits can also impact the calculation of levelized cost. The values shown in the tables below do not incorporate any such incentives."
The "Annual Energy Outlook 2011" is a much more comprehensive overview than the smaller article called "Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011". --Timeshifter (talk) 16:54, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Unless they ran the economic models without any assumptions for subsidies and mandates--they don't say they did this--then the subsidies are indirectly added to the tables because levelised cost is based on projections of the entire economy over thirty years, and these projections include mandates and subsidies under current law as the footnote 2 to "Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011" clearly states. You are right to point out that it is very difficult to put a figure of $/kw-hr from the information they give. Which is why I don't--the statement at issue is are mandates and subsidies included, and they are included in the economic models from which these figures are calculated.Shrikeangel (talk) 17:50, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
You wrote "they don't say they did this." Yes, they did say this concerning the tables. From the DOE article specific to the tables: "Levelized cost reflects overnight capital cost, fuel cost, fixed and variable O&M cost, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type. For technologies such as solar and wind generation that have no fuel costs and relatively small O&M costs, levelized cost changes in rough proportion to the estimated overnight capital cost of generation capacity. For technologies with significant fuel cost, both fuel cost and overnight cost estimates significantly affect levelized cost. The availability of various incentives including state or federal tax credits can also impact the calculation of levelized cost. The values shown in the tables below do not incorporate any such incentives."
It is good that this is now clarified in the article, because I was not sure whether what you thought was true or not, or whether there were additional adjustments beyond the carbon sequestration adjustment. The reports only clarify things in one paragraph buried in the table report. They should have stated these things more clearly in the table captions. --Timeshifter (talk) 18:46, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
My edit doesn't show up when I come to this page, only when I edit it. I'm not sure why that is, but the citations are there now.Shrikeangel (talk) 14:06, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Additional Nuclear Power Costs: unsubstantiated claims and tone[edit]

In general, this section seems to portray nuclear power in a negative light. The two main objections I had with this are 1) an insurance liability of £140 is more than 20% of the estimated cost of the Fukushima Disaster, not 1%, a majority of which was damage due to the earthquake unrelated to the nuclear disaster, and 2) an increase of $0.20/kWh is only 7% of the total cost of power generation and not 'staggering'. It also seems like the last two paragraphs should be merged. — Preceding unsigned comment added by FunkmasterC2 (talkcontribs) 19:44, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I made some changes along the lines of your points. --Timeshifter (talk) 23:46, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

"A negative light"?!!! It currently puts the costs of waste disposal for nuclear in the same bracket ('high') as solar PV and Wind. This is totally ridiculous. There are serious problems with nuclear waste that are being shuffled to the side completely here - take the recent problems in the storage facilities at Asse for example. The cost of disasters does not seem to be taken into account at all except indirectly through insurance costs. And the value of plutonium as a byproduct of nuclear energy production may well be used to reduce cost of production but it is not clear from the figures what effect this has. How much value can be put on the evacuation of an area 20km in diameter in Japan for example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 150.101.207.3 (talk) 00:36, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I wonder if nuclear would be anything other than the cheapest option if we ignored the stupidity of government bureaucrats. 98.154.22.134 (talk) 08:08, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Addition Cost of All Energy Sources[edit]

This article seems to make minimal mention of the externalized costs energy sources other than nuclear. If fact even the nuclear could use expansion, as it discusses only liability for nuclear disasters. Environmental effects of normal operation are, I think, not given enough attention. Here are some topics which are conspicuously absent:
• Mining of coal, uranium, etc., with the associated healthcare, and cultural costs.
• Habitat polution, destruction, and alteration and land use due to mines, dams, etc.
• Water use and pollution in all stages from mining to electric generation.
Saprophage (talk) 16:26, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Go for it! Externalities and life-cycle costs are big arguments when discussing alternative energy sources, and there must be more than one or two good sources out there that could be summarized here. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:04, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
This is now done, with many new citations, though it's very summarized. Probably the effects of each "source" should be broken down by atmospheric, ocean, fresh water, soil, human health, human infrastructure and other costs (coal acids for instance harm buildings not just lakes). Feel free to expand the "missng costs" section and make the accounting sections that follow it clear as to what costs they do and dont include.

It is worth noting, under "topics which are conspicuously absent" that the amount of uranium needed for a given quantity of energy is tens of thousands of times less than the mass of the coal or natural gas require for the same amount, if we use only the 7 parts in a thousand of uranium that is the fissile isotope. The environmental cost is pretty much in proportion, even although the total radioactivity of the non-uranium part of the ore (radium, thorium, polonium, radon) a.k.a. the spoil, is greater than the radioactivity of the uranium. Moreover, since there are available nuclear technologies, which the EIA projections totally ignore, which use perhaps 100 times as much of the energy in the uranium, as our present throwaway PWR technology does. It is also true that the disposal of nuclear waste under our present rules is essentially impossible. If nuclear waste as dangerous as plutonium were permitted to be treated in the same way as equally dangerous coal waste, it would cost nothing. The mercury vapor, a neurotoxin, produced by coal burners, is vented to the atmosphere. But under the rule that plutonium must be sequestered until it is harmless, it is impossible. The way to dispose of plutonium is to consume it. That requires reprocessing, which is forbidden. ~~Albert Rogers~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.66.41.45 (talk) 23:22, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Reprocessed fuel is used in France and probably elsewhere - some reactors used in South Korea, Russia and Romania (notably the CANDU) can use reprocessed fuel in relative safety. Backward looking (see below) estimates of the cost of that could be figured in and placed in another column, broken out from fission in general.
The other nuclear technologies are simply not in the marketplace, any more than nuclear fusion is, and simply don't count in such an analysis. But a very heavily annotated and asterisked section on thermocouple-based small nuclear, or thorium, might be reasonable, in a separate "forward-looking" section in a comprehensive article that also included the negawatt and other extant technologies. Or separate the forward-looking stuff into another article on "projected cost electricity by source 2012-2030 or something, and be prepared to keep it up to date (like editing it every year forever).

Include Oil into this article[edit]

Considering that oil is still used in some regions to create electricity can we please create a section for the costs of oil as a fuel?

(possibly with subsections, refined, gas turbine, 2stroke bunker oil etc.

Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by 138.25.211.1 (talk) 01:29, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, amazingly Saudi Arabia still uses it, though they hope to displace with solar [3], there's $109B [4] going to build 41GW by 2032 [5] [6] and also LPG-fracked gas [7].
Generally, though, with that exception, oil is only used where you have no other choice, such as remote logging camps and villages, i.e. off-grid uses. It's well known as an uncompetitive, dirty, dangerous electricity source (an oil spill even of small scope often permanently contaminates a well making property worthless), so probably it doesn't merit comparison with other sources.

Removing Outdated Banner[edit]

I am removing the outdated banner, since in my estimation most data given is fairly recent, and the person who added the banner seems not to have added anything to the talk page about his reasons. Wilford Nusser (talk) 03:56, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

It seems to be back, and it also seems to be valid. The more recent studies show solar dropping [8]. The "non-technical" costs of solar fell by 18% in 2009-10 alone [9], as panel prices themselves fell also and continued to fall in 2011-12 [10], pressuring makers [11] and expected to hit half the 2009 cost by 2013 according to Ernst & Young [12]. There's no way that this is reflected in the numbers in the article.
Wind, also, has been subject to aggressive price reductions and also efficiency improvements, with continuous variable transmissions adding up to 20% and improving fast (one company claims to be 5% better even than other CVTs [13]). Also tubercule blades [14] improve wind resistance and cut noise. Maintainability has also improved with new designs that tilt down for access [15] and have better inverter and monitoring systems. Even without these innovations widely deployed, basic turbine prices meanwhile fell 4% in the last half of 2011 [16] and some studies say the price of deployment probably peaked in 2010 [17] with $40/megawatt-hour estimated for new builds in 2012-13 [18].
Given that plus the radical changes in perception of nuclear, coal and oil risks of the last couple of years, it seems naive to think these numbers stable.

Still valid - can we regularly schedule updates to this article?[edit]

The "outdated" banner should remain, and should probably go up again if the numbers are not very substantially revised approximately every quarter (3 mos).
Some articles really need regularly scheduled updates. This can probably be managed with in a project. It would take a lot of work to keep this one up to A-class standards but given it is a critical topic, it seems worth it.
The biggest problem I see with such an approach is that tables will devolve into hodgepodges, drawing from different sources (with different methodologies) for each energy source. This would result in an article that is less reliable than one with a consistent methodology, even if the figures are perhaps 3 months out-of-date.
I initially removed the template because the DOE tables I worked with are projections, and indeed take deployment cost reductions into account. It seems naive to think that projected figures would not. (Aside... please remember to sign your contributions to talk pages.) —Wilford Nusser (talk) 01:35, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Forward-looking vs. backward-looking[edit]

Can this article separate forward-looking (projections, estimates, business cases) for builds of new power supply from backward-looking (measurements, studies, actual paid costs recorded on someone's books) somehow? Obviously the numbers will be radically different for many sources, including those with new technology being deployed (wind, solar) and those with huge liabilities undisclosed or unknown or assumed by governments initially (nuclear, coal, and oil).

At the very least the article should distinguish historical from projected numbers and not allow them to be used together in one conflated table. Comparing the historical cost of nuclear including keeping old plants going with new designs may be unreasonable, especially if it's a thermocouple design or something else that doesn't leak all over the place. Comparing the historical cost of solar to new builds is just worthless and misleading in the extreme. Wind has been more stable in price but given that some of the new technologies (better CVTs, tubercule props) can be retrofitted on existing farms, and maintainable tilting towers might soon be too, even the estimates of operating costs per megawatt over time could be much less than anticipated in today's business cases. It's almost worth adding a trajectory or anticipated cost reduction factor for the more active technologies, in line with their historical performance. For instance, for nuclear, cost per watt has gone up (a "negative learning curve") [19] with credible studies (MIT) putting it now at $6000/Kilo watt [20]. That is much higher than any claims ever made for it at the time of the build ("too cheap to meter", etc.). So any distortion introduced by a depressive factor in solar and wind cost assumptions is more than offset by believing the nuclear claims at all. ;-)

Nuclear power stations installed at very high cost US$ 6000 / KW will not get commissioned to generate electricity overcoming opposition from environmentalists and middle class people. Or if commissioned, they become idling plants unable to compete with other types of electricity generating plants due to high cost of generation.

Developed countries are advocating nuclear power plants (owned by public / governments or with pass on high tarrif to the government) installations in other countries to dispose nuclear fuel extracted from the piled up nuclear weapons and to cannibalize the capital generation potential of other countries by imposing high capital intensive electricity generating plants. Present day world is surfeit with capital particularly from developed countries. If more capital is generated from the optimum cost electricity generation units (other than nuclear power), these countries can become capital sufficient in future and will not absorb the surplus capital available in developed countries. It is all about survival instincts of rich people wherever they are.124.123.235.192 (talk) 10:16, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

The cheapness of nuclear power is known only if the generation plants are installed in private sector and are able to sell power in competetion with other producers. Also the owner company should be responsible fully for social damages / disasters if any.124.123.220.131 (talk) 19:19, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Proposed de-merger (again)[edit]

Recent activity in the solar energy sector has highlighted that the LCOE measure is not sufficient for calculating the value of energy provided by certain technologies where dispatchability is significantly different between the technologies. For example, a coal station is inflexible: it works best when producing a constant output, and cannot respond quickly to changes in demand. Likewise a solar panel is inflexible: it must output its energy when the sun shines, and can essential do so at zero incremental cost. Meanwhile, solar thermal storage, pumped hydro storage, compressed air storage, gas turbines, and other flexible energy generators bring additional value due to their ability to smooth the gap between supply and demand.

New methods for estimating the value of energy delivered to the grid from diffferent sources are emerging, such as the 'Net System Cost Method' discussed by Joe Desmond frm Brightsource energy. This is because it is important that "cost" is not seen as the be-all and end-all in determining the merit and success of different energy technologies -- the market pays more in periods of higher demand, so technologies that can flexibly respond to that need to be judged on a metric that takes that into account.

This page should be renamed 'Levelised cost of energy', the data for LCOE for certain sources should be moved with it, and a new page discussing these issues should replace the current one.

Comments? Jdpipe (talk) 22:17, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

The table of DOE cannot be correct, on shore windpower has the lowest price in almost every context, because its fuel cost are the lowest Henk Daalder (talk) 22:33, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Undue weight and placement of PV data[edit]

I have a criticism of the current flow and layout of this page.

Presently the only energy source given its own title, and not to mention, placement near the top of the page is the cost of PV.

This is a bit odd.

Secondly, I also checked the only reference in the PV section under debate to see if I could find the source of the large table accompanying it, but could not find it anywhere, or from what data, the table might have been sourced.

So pretty much, I would appreciate if the user who made the edit provided data supporting the tables numbers, and secondly I think we should reconsider the placement of the PV data, to somewhere further down the article page or incorporated within the present headings.

On a seperate issue, I wish to change the section title - Additional costs of Nuclear energy, to the more apt 'Externality and insurance costs of energy sources'.

What do you all think?

Boundarylayer (talk) 02:12, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

To my knowledge many people have asked where the table came from, and the first instance of its use may be in the photovoltaics article with this edit.[21] You can tell from the commas for decimal points that it is from Europe. Basically if you divide the cost in the left column by the insolation from the top row you get the cost/kWh (in dollars) if you had to cover your costs in one year. The information says it includes depreciation over 20 years and 4% interest rate and 1% cost of operation. I put the data into a spread sheet and found I could duplicate it if I used the formula cost/kWh = cost/insolation/10. That seems high, because if interest was zero and cost of operation was zero, the cost/kWh = cost/insolation/20. If you include 4% interest for 20 years you get about 40% for interest costs, if you include 1% of cost for operating cost each year for 20 years you get 20%. Somehow that works out to doubling the cost over 20 years, so instead of 20, 10 was used. I do not recall anyone questioning the math, but it seems to allow for other costs by my calculations. Maybe someone who is better at math than me can check my arithmetic. If the interest cost was 40% and cost of operation 20%, the lower right element would be $5000*1.6/800/20 = $0.50 instead of $0.625. I am sure that anyone who is building a system would be wise to use the more conservative estimate of the cost being 62.5 cents/kWh instead of 50 cents/kWh. The main point though, of the table, is that your cost/kWh is increased proportionally by the cost of installation, and decreased proportionally by the level of insolation at your location, and it does illustrate that very well. Maybe by 4% interest they meant the average cost of interest over twenty years, which would mean that the total cost of interest would be 4%x20 = 80%, adding that to the cost of operation of 20% does exactly double the cost over 20 years. So I guess the math is correct after all. Just multiply any left column figure by 2 and divide it by any top row figure, and divide by 20 to get the cost/kWh in dollars, and multiply by 100 to get the cost shown in the table, in cents/kWh. Like I said on my talk page the chart is just a multiplication table. Delphi234 (talk) 04:18, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


    • NEW**

The entire Photovoltaic section needs to be removed from this article, as it is giving undue weight, it is biased, and completely disregards the levelized costs, capacity factors, and other calculations referenced above. It also disregards the actual description of the article "The cost of electricity (typically cents/kWh, euro/kWh, euro or $/MWh) generated by different sources is a calculation of the cost of generating electricity at the point of connection to a load or electricity grid. It includes the initial capital, discount rate, as well as the costs of continuous operation, fuel, and maintenance. This type of calculation assists policy makers, researchers and others to guide discussions and decision making." - The Photovaltaics sections should NOT be in this article, and could simply be removed, or put into the actual wikipedia article on Photovoltaic, since it has nothing to do with the premise of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.118.115.225 (talk) 10:37, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Hydro seasonally non-dispatchable?[edit]

A footnote beneath the first table claims that "Hydro is seasonally non-dispatchable". This sounds odd. Hydro is one of the most dispatchable energy sources there is. You just let some more water thorugh. And in fact, countries that rely exclusively on hydropower have no problem with dispatchability. If I were to guess, I would say that the claim imagines a situation where the dam is empty for part of the season. An empty dam is definitely non-dispatchable, but it is only empty because too much water was let through earlier (i.e. it was not run with the goal of being dispatchable). I will remove this footnote for hydropower unless anybody has any objections. Amaurea (talk) 17:55, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

That is exactly what it is referring to - after the spring run off the dam is full and the output is not dispatchable because it has to be drawn down to avoid over filling the reservoir and not opened up too much to not flood downstream areas. When it is empty there is nothing to dispatch. If you look at hydro output from year to year there are relatively large variations and they are due to availability, not demand - which clearly indicates a lack of dispatchability. The solution though is to find a reliable source that discusses this issue. I have no objections to removing the footnote, but request that a reference be found for hydro. In general run of the river hydro is considered non-dispatchable, hydro from a reservoir is considered dispatchable, but I am not sure that this article needs to say anything about that. Delphi234 (talk) 16:25, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Marginal costs section[edit]

I removed the uncited content as it appeared to be primarily WP:OR and lacked data. This was a student project, and while well-intended, it was left incomplete. In addition, much of the section was unclear, fragmented, and in need of editing.--E8 (talk) 05:38, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Types of electricity generation plants[edit]

Electricity is a commodity where its storage cost is more than its generation cost. Electricity generation plants can be divided in to three categories

Peaking power generators: Which can generate power when there is demand and can back out when there is no demand. They can generate electricity on reliable basis but generation cost is not competitive with other modes of generation at high capacity utilization due to higher running / fuel costs.

Base load power generators: Which can generate power when there is demand but cannot back out when there is no demand. They can generate electricity on reliable basis but generation cost is not economical at lower capacity utilization/part loading due to high installation costs. The generation becomes secondary / not competitive when there is no electricity demand.

Secondary power / infirm power generators: Which cannot generate power when there is demand and can not back out when there is no demand. Fortuitously, they may generate electricity when there is demand. These generating stations contribute to energy security if they are of renewable energy type like wind, solar, etc

To compare the various types of electricity generating plants, they should be brought at par in performance standard to perfectly meet the prevailing/expected grid demand pattern in a region /country. So base load and secondary power generators shall be loaded with the extra expenditure /cost of converting secondary power in to peaking power by installing pumped storage hydroelectric power stations / battery storage systems / compressed air storage plants, etc as the case may be. Then only good comparison is possible with levelised cost of generation method. As an alternative solution, the secondary power generation component should not be given any weightage in the cost analysis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kwdt2 (talkcontribs) 09:25, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Minor edit: removed offshore wind numbers[edit]

Offshore wind numbers were not included in the source material and were not given a unique source. I removed the unsourced numbers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CultureGoblin (talkcontribs) 03:20, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Solar thermal now down to $20 a MWH[edit]

There is a recent article circulating the internet, by David Fuchs, indicating Solar thermal is now around $20 a MWH. Scalable from home use to country sized. The figure's are quite conservative. I'm sure a clever person could do it cheaper.

The article is titled "Using Thermodynamics & 100-Year-Old Technology To Break The $20 Per MWh Barrier."

The specs in this wiki page seem to be out by as much as 1000% Claiming over $200 per mwh. Where did those figure's come from? I'm doubtful solar thermal was ever that expensive.


Perhaps a chart showing changes in costs of power sources over the last 100 years might help clear up a few issues with this wiki page. Some of the energy sources are in a rapid state of change. It would be good to give an idea of where they may be headed and how fast. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.168.42.154 (talk) 11:10, 5 May 2013 (UTC)


This seems to be the article: http://www.hephaestusproject.com/Energy/clean-technica-article-on-sub-20-per-mwh-energy/
The short response is that this is not a reliable source, being one guy's self-published work.
A longer response is that he seems to be making some very optimistic assumptions.
He figures he can reduce the cost of solar panels from $150 to $33/m^2. Even so, the panels are 3/4s of the total cost, so this is critical.
He assumes he can get a Stirling engine to run at 30% efficiency. I don't know what temperatures he's using, but with a heat source at 100°C and a heat sink at 0°C, the Carnot efficiency would be 27%. Of course, actual machinery falls short of the theoretical maximum.
He winds up with a system costing 13,728 USD and producing 3 kW for a cost of 4.6 USD/W. Here are costs for some existing solar thermal plants, built in places with much better solar resources:
Andasol 1 (Sp) :     380 e6 USD /  50 e6 W = 7.6 USD/Wpeak; @ 0.41 CF = 18.5 USD/Waverage
Shams 1 (UAE) :      600 e6 USD / 100 e6 W = 6.0 USD/Wpeak; @ 0.24 CF = 25.0 USD/Wave
Ivanpah (US) :       2.2 e9 USD / 392 e6 W = 5.6 USD/Wpeak; @ 0.32 CF = 17.5 USD/Wave
Crescent Dunes (US): 1   e9 USD / 110 e6 W = 9.1 USD/Wpeak; @ 0.52 CF = 17.5 USD/Wave
As you can see, they run 4–5 times more expensive.
When computing the levelized cost, he ignores financing and operating costs.
Give him all that, then yes, the LCoE works out to 2.1 ¢/kW·h (=$21/MW·h). http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html
—WWoods (talk) 19:18, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Rewriting needed[edit]

The article is really confused and messy and should be reorganized and rewritten. Cost of renewable sources such as solar and wind have decreased considerably in latest years and most of the calculations here are out of date. Moreover, most of these technologies depend strongly on the place where they are deployed, and this is not clear from the estimates and charts. --Ita140188 (talk) 16:04, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Sills, Ben, "Spanish Sun Burn", Bloomberg Markets, November 2010, pp. 99–106.