The Canadian Free Press recently published the Institute for Energy Research's summery of the most recent Energy Information Agency's Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) estimate of Levelized Cost of New Generating Technologies, 2016: Revised AEO 2009 Reference Case. The whole table can be viewed here.
The IER states
The table below provides the average national levelized costs for the generating technologies represented in the updated AEO2009 reference case. The values shown in the table do not include financial incentives such as state or federal tax credits, which impact the cost and the competitiveness of the technology. These incentives, however, are incorporated in the evaluation of the technologies in NEMS based on current laws and regulations in effect at the time of the modeling exercise, as well as regional differences in the cost and performance of the technology, such as labor rates and availability of wind or sun resources. . . .In short the table reflects the cost of electricity from the various energy sources. In the cases of solar and wind, making the electricity reliable will cost extra.
The levelized cost for each technology is evaluated based on the capacity factor indicated, which generally corresponds to the maximum availability of each technology. . . .
Intermittent renewable resources, e.g. wind and solar, are not operator controlled, but dependent on the weather or the sun shining. Since the availability of wind or solar is dependent of forces outside of the operator’s control, their levelized costs are not directly comparable to those for other technologies although the average annual capacity factor may be similar. Because intermittent technologies do not provide the same contribution to system reliability as technologies that are operator controlled and dispatched, they may require additional system investment as back-up power that are not included in the levelized costs shown below.
It should be noted that the both the levelized costs of nuclear as well as its total levelized cost is significantly lower than the cost of land based wind generated electricity and when the comparison is shifted to off shore wind, Solar PV, and Solar Thermal, the cost gap between nuclear and renewables becomes enormous. This supports the result of my original 2007 post-carbon energy analysis that concluded that Solar and Wind Energy options would be substantially more costly than nuclear. This assessment does not focus on potential cost savings of alternative (Generation IV) nuclear power. What concerns me about levelized cost advantage of nuclear power is that it is not competitive with the levelized cost of Chines nuclear power and is even less cost competitive with the levelized cost advantage of Indian Stage 3 nuclear technology. Stage 3 Indian nuclear power which may cost close to half of the Chinese nuclear power cost. The levelized cost of stage 3 Indian nuclear PHWRs may fall to 15 compared to 84.2 for American Nukes. Factory produced small American nukes might cost 50% less than large nukes, while LFTRs have the potential of falling to a levelized cost as low as 20.
|Capacity Factor (%)
|Levelized Capital Cost
|Variable O&M (including fuel)
|Total System Levelized Cost