Projected Costs of Generating Electricity – 2015 Edition

    Projected Costs of Generating Electricity – 2015 Edition cover

    This joint report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is the eighth in a series of studies on electricity generating costs. As policy makers work to ensure that the power supply is reliable, secure and affordable, while making it increasingly clean and sustainable in the context of the debate on climate change, it is becoming more crucial that they understand what determines the relative cost of electricity generation using fossil fuel, nuclear or renewable sources of energy. A wide range of fuels and technologies are presented in the report, including natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, solar, onshore and offshore wind, biomass and biogas, geothermal, and combined heat and power, drawing on a database from surveys of investment and operating costs that include a larger number of countries than previous editions.

    The analysis of more than 180 plants, based on data covering 22 countries, reveals several key trends, pointing, for example, to a significant decline in recent years in the cost of renewable generation. The report also reveals that nuclear energy costs remain in line with the cost of other baseload technologies, particularly in markets that value decarbonisation. Overall, cost drivers of the different generating technologies remain both market-specific and technology-specific.

    Readers will find a wealth of details and analysis, supported by over 200 figures and tables, underlining this report's value as a tool for decision makers and researchers concerned with energy policies, climate change and the evolution of power sectors around the world.

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    Table of contents



    Table of contents

    List of tables

    List of figures

    Executive summary

    Part I – Methodology and data on levelised costs for generating technologies

    Chapter 1 Introduction and context

    Chapter 2 Methodology, conventions and key assumptions

    2.1 The levelised cost of electricity

    2.2 Methodological conventions and key assumptions

    2.3 Conclusions

    Chapter 3 Technology overview

    3.1 Overview of different generating technologies

    3.2 Technology-by-technology data on electricity generating costs

    3.3 Capacity factor sensitivity of baseload technologies

    Chapter 4 Country overview

    4.1 Country-by-country data on electricity generating costs (bar graphs)

    4.2 Country-by-country comparison of impact of capacity factor on LCOE

    4.3 Country-by-country data on electricity generating costs (numerical tables)

    Chapter 5 History of Projected Costs of Generating Electricity, 1981-2015

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Previous editions

    5.3 Country-by-country tables and figures on electricity generating costs for mainstream technologies

    Part II – Statistical and sensitivity analysis

    Chapter 6 Statistical analysis of key technologies

    6.1 The representative cost of renewable energy

    Chapter 7 Sensitivity analysis

    7.1 Multidimensional sensitivity analysis

    7.2 Detailed sensitivity analysis

    Part III – Boundary issues

    Chapter 8 Financing issues

    8.1 The social cost of capital versus private investment costs

    8.2 Private investment costs under uncertainty

    8.3 Questionnaire responses regarding the costs of capital and discount rates

    8.4 Options for improving investment conditions in the power sector

    Chapter 9 Emerging generating technologies

    9.1 High-efficiency, low-emission coal (IGCC and advanced-USC)

    9.2 Carbon capture and storage

    9.3 Fuel cells

    9.4 Enhanced geothermal systems

    9.5 Floating and deep offshore wind

    9.6 Emerging solar photovoltaics

    9.7 Emerging solar thermal electricity (concentrating solar power)

    9.8 Emerging bioenergy technologies

    9.9 Ocean energy technologies

    9.10 Electricity storage technologies

    9.11 Nuclear energy

    9.12 Concluding remarks

    Chapter 10 The system cost and system value of electricity generation

    10.1 Going beyond generation costs

    10.2 System effects

    10.3 System cost and system value

    10.4 Long-term and short-term effects

    10.5 Quantitative estimation of system effects

    10.6 Long-term transformation at growing shares of VRE

    Chapter 11 Looking beyond baseload: The future of the Projected Costs of Generating Electricity series

    11.1 Introduction

    11.2 The history and the future of the LCOE methodology: Usefulness and limitations

    11.3 The limits of LCOE in liberalised electricity markets with price risk

    11.4 New issues and new demands on power technologies in the presence of variable renewable energies

    11.5 Four metrics of interest beyond levelised costs for future EGC studies

    11.6 Conclusions


    Annex 1 The EGC spreadsheet model for calculating LCOE

    Annex 2 List of abbreviations and acronyms