The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a report today on the near- and long-term cost, performance, and technology status for eight central-station power generation technologies likely to dominate the U.S. generation mix over the next two decades.
The analysis, Integrated Generation Technology Options, examines pulverized coal, integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC), natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC), nuclear, biomass, wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), and concentrating solar thermal generation technologies from the near term to 2025.
The report presents an overview of each technology, including current and projected performance and costs; major technical issues and future development direction and trends; fuel resource considerations; business issues; and environmental concerns and considerations. Representative costs are reported in constant December 2010 U.S. dollars.
“This assessment is designed to inform the public and utility power producers as they grapple with uncertainties that complicate decisions about generation technology investments,” said Revis James, director of EPRI’s Energy Technology Assessment Center, which conducted the analysis.
Those complicating factors include:
- The lagging economic recovery and its impacts on electricity demand
- Capital cost uncertainties surrounding the various technologies
- Uncertainty regarding potential carbon legislation
- The profound impact of the shale gas boom on present and future natural gas prices, and
- Impacts on existing generating plants from pending or anticipated environmental rules on emissions, use of water resources, and coal ash handling and disposal.
The analysis is based on 2010 EPRI research results and updates a November 2009 assessment. It is available at www.epri.com; click on “search” and enter the EPRI report number 1022782.
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization,
EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.