EIA Construction Costs by Energy Technology – 7/15/16

The EIA publishes a large number of informative articles and data sets. Below you will find a summary of a recent article focused on the average construction costs of various electricity generation technologies.

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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Electric Generator Construction Costs

The cost data charted above does not include government grants, tax benefits, or other incentives. In particular, the PTC and ITC tax credit programs for wind and solar extended in late 2015 significantly change the economic situation for those resources, but not expected to survive Congressional conflicts when the data was collected in 2013.

In addition, construction costs are only one of the fundamental factors deciding which electricity generating methods are favored. The relative economics of each electricity generation technology also depend heavily on the cost of fuel or lack thereof. For example, in the case of wind and solar plants, the initial construction cost constitutes most of the plant’s total costs.

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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Electric Generator Construction Costs

Solar. Solar additions in 2013 had average construction costs of $3,705/kW. The data, which are for utility-scale plants only (capacity of 1 MW or more), do not include distributed solar installations, such as those found on residential and commercial rooftops.

Wind. The average construction cost of wind generators in 2013 was $1,895/kW, the lowest of all renewable technologies.

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