By December 9, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Natural gas, wind, lowest-cost generation technologies for much of U.S.

generation

Electricity generation

Nuclear generation found to be lowest-cost option in 400 out of 3,110 counties nationwide

AUSTIN, Texas — Natural gas and wind are the lowest-cost technology options for new electricity generation across much of the US when cost, public health impacts and environmental effects are considered, according to new research released by The University of Texas at Austin.

The FCe- study examined numerous factors affecting the cost of electricity generation, including:

  • Power Plant Costs (both operating and capital costs)
  • Environmental and Health Costs (air quality, greenhouse gases)
  • Infrastructure Costs (transmission & distribution lines, rail, pipelines)
  • Fuel Cost (variability, full fuel cycle)
  • Integration of renewable and distributed energy resources
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Government financial support for electricity generation (subsidies)

For the white paper on power generation costs, researchers used data from existing studies to enhance a formula known as the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE).

In addition to including public health impacts and environmental effects — which the LCOE typically does not — the research team used data to calculate county-specific costs for each technology.

Researchers categorized the electricity system into three principal components: consumers; generation technologies; and the wires, poles, storage and other hardware required to connect end users and generators.

Researchers analyzed data for the most competitive sources of new electricity generation. Wind proved to be the lowest-cost option for a broad swath of the country, from the High Plains and Midwest and into Texas.

Natural gas prevailed for much of the remainder of the U.S.; nuclear was found to be the lowest-cost option in 400 out of 3,110 counties nationwide.

Taken as a whole, the white papers assess the interaction among these three components, as well as costs often considered external to the electricity system, such as environmental effects and public health impacts.

“These are complex, interrelated issues that cannot be adequately addressed from one perspective,” said Dr. Tom Edgar, director of the Energy Institute. “We assembled a cross-disciplinary team to provide a fuller understanding of these costs and their policy implications.”

Dr. Joshua Rhodes, postdoctoral research fellow at the Energy Institute and lead author of the paper, said the cost estimates are based on a series of assumptions that researchers debated at length.

“We think our methodology is sound and hope it enhances constructive dialogue. But we also know that cost factors change over time, and people disagree about whether to include some of them,” said Rhodes.

In addition to including public health impacts and environmental effects — which the LCOE typically does not — the research team used data to calculate county-specific costs for each technology.

The team also developed online calculators to facilitate a discussion among policymakers and others about the cost implications of policy actions associated with new electricity generation.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to change these inputs, and the tools we’ve created allow for that,” said Rhodes.

generation

Ph: 432-978-5096 Website: www.mapleleafmarketinginc.com

 

 

Post a Comment