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NREL releases baseline cost and performance data for electricity generation

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the U.S. released its 2016 Annual Technology Baseline providing some details and numbers on their view what the costs are for various technologies, including geothermal energy.

In an article yesterday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the U.S. released its 2016 Annual Technology Baseline. The actual data is available here.

NREL will hold a webinar on September 13, 2016 5pm to 6pm UTC to provide details about the study results released. You can register for it here.

The chart used in the announcement is showing geothermal energy as one of the highest capital cost technologies. But looking at some of the data for the 2015 baseline provides a little bit of a different picture.

Here some of the key highlights for geothermal:

  • Capacity Factor: 80-90% … and by far the highest after Nuclear
  • Capex Range: from $5m/ MW to $13.5/ MW … this I find rather high and would be curious how this is calculated
  • Fuel cost: $0 …
  • Fixed O&M cost: here set at $155/ kW … that I find also very high
  • LCOE range: from $78/ MWh to $225/ MWh

Overall, I would like to dig a bit deeper into these numbers, as they seem to be given a rather wide range with rather high numbers.

But in the overall context, looking at fuel cost and the capacity factor, geothermal seems to be able to compete with other electricity generating technologies.

Source: NREL Press ReleaseNREL Annual Technology Baseline,

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