Updated Baseline Cost and Performance Data for Electricity Generation Technologies Shows Improvements for Renewables

Updated Baseline Cost and Performance Data for Electricity Generation Technologies Shows Improvements for Renewables

Energy portfolios continue their shift towards lower-carbon models. Assessing current and future technology costs and performance will help address energy market goals and needs.

The benefits of a sustainable resource infrastructure will be increasingly noticeable as technologies become more cost-effective and perform better. On topic of renewable economics, Team Gemini has referenced a practical guide for renewable energy financing, and timely changes in fossil fuel outlooks. The bottom line is that there are an increasing number of indicators about improving cost competitiveness of renewables. And with progressing energy investments, policy frameworks, and other factors, project developments and investments become more feasible.

To add to the promising outlook, the latest edition of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) showcases improving variables for solar photovoltaic and land-based wind, in particular.

Now in its third year, the ATB documents technology-specific information on a broad spectrum of electricity generation technologies, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

For example, the ATB illustrates how solar photovoltaic (PV) capital costs have declined recently and are projected to continue to decline.  Similarly, land-based wind capital costs have fallen while capacity factors have increased. These are trends that are both projected to continue and make wind increasingly competitive with new generation from natural gas combined cycle plants in the near term.

The ATB synthesizes current and projected data from various sources into a highly accessible and widely referenced resource for energy analysts. The 2017 ATB is available in a new interactive website at atb.nrel.gov.

“In addition to aggregating the most reliable, timely cost and performance data spanning the full range of energy technologies, the Annual Technology Baseline highlights key trends and makes projections out to 2050,” said NREL Senior Analyst Maureen Hand. “For energy analysts and others tasked with communicating relevant electricity technology cost and performance trends that have a bearing on energy markets, the ATB serves as an indispensable go-to resource that greatly facilitates and streamlines the work involved.”

Design and development of projects are essential in creating economic viability, as numerous cost factors, technology configurations and applications, and other details vary from location to location. Team Gemini and its industry connections are part of this process, helping ensure that all requirements are met and implemented for clients to most effectively apply sustainability measures in their operations.

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