Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Annex

The average costs of renewable energy compared with fossil fuels and nuclear power: today and in prospect


Technology
Current cost (US Cents/kWh)
Projected future costs beyond 2020 as the technology matures(US Cents/kWh)

Biomass Energy:
Electricity
5-15
4-10
Heat
1-5
1-5
Ethanol for vehicle fuels
3-9
2-4
(c.f. petrol and diesel)
(1.5-2.2)
(1.5-2.2)
Wind Electricity
onshore
3-5
2-3
offshore
6-10
2-5
Solar Thermal Electricity (insolation of 2500kWh/m2 per year)
12-18
4-10
Hydro-electricity
Large scale
2-8
2-8
Small scale
4-10
3-10
Geothermal Energy:
Electricity
2-10
1-8
Heat
0.5-5.0
0.5-5.0
Marine Energy:
Tidal Barrage (eg the proposed Severn Barrage)
12
12
Tidal Stream8-15
8-15
Wave
8-20
5-7
Grid connected photovoltaics, according to incident solar energy ("insolation"):
1000 kWh/m2 per year (eg UK)
50-80
®8
1500kWh/m2 per year (eg southern Europe)
30-50
®5
2500 kWh/m2 per year (most developing countries)
20-40
®4
Stand alone systems (including batteries), 2500 kWh/m2 per year
40-60
®10
Nuclear Power
4-6
3-5
Electricity Grid supplies from fossil fuels (incl. transmission and distribution
Capital cost will come down with technical progress, but many technologies largely mature and may be offset by rising fuel costs
Off-peak
2-3
Peak
15-25
Average
8-10
Rural electrification
25-80
Costs of Central Grid Supplies, excl. transmission and distribution:
Capital costs will come down with technical progress, but many technologies already mature and may be offset by rising fuel costs
Natural Gas
2-4
Coal
3-5


  Source: World Energy Assessment: Energy and the Challenge of Sustainability. UNDP and World Energy Council (2000) updated and extended based on data gathered for the UK Government, PIU (2002), and recent simulation studies undertaken for the UK DTI (forthcoming). The above estimates are based on a discount rate of 10%. The costs of rural electrification are from the World Bank's 1996 report: Rural Energy and Development: Meeting the Needs of 2 Billion People.



 
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