Electricity Costs and Economics: 2015 to 2025

Published: October 2016
No. of Pages: 135

Executive Summary of Electricity Costs and Economics: 2015 to 2025

Electricity Costs and Economics: 2015 to 2025 - Electricity is the most important energy source in the modern age but also the most ephemeral, a source that must be consumed as fast as it is produced. This makes modeling the economics of electricity production more complex than carrying out the same exercise for other products. Accurate modeling is important because it forms the basis for future investment decisions. In the electricity sector two fundamental yardsticks are used for cost comparison, capital cost and the levelized cost of electricity. The latter is a lifecycle cost analysis of a power plant that uses assumptions about the future value of money to convert all future costs and revenues into current prices. This model is widely used in the power industry but has some significant failings, particularly in its ability to handle risk. Even so these two measures, together, are the first consulted when power sector investment and planning decisions are to be made.

Production of electricity has always involved an element of risk but this has been extended, and in some cases magnified by the introduction of liberalized electricity markets. One big source of risk is fuel price risk. If an investment is made today based on a predicted cost of natural gas that turns out to be wildly in error because prices soar, as has happened during the past decade, then that investment will be in danger of failing to be economical to operate. Therefore some measure of the risk of fuel price volatility should be included in any economic model. Other risks arise where large capital investment is required in untested technology. Meanwhile the liberalized market has introduced new types of risk more often associated with financial markets.

The power sector still remains an attractive area for investment but investors are now more cautious than previously. Global warming continues to be a dominant theme but alongside that there is a new pragmatism about fossil fuel combustion which will continue to dominate the power sector for another generation at least. Meanwhile renewable sources of generation continue to advance, led principally by wind power but with solar capacity growing rapidly too, though from a small base.

Key features of this report

  • Analysis of power generation costs concepts, drivers and components.
  • Assessment of electricity costs for different technologies in terms of the two fundamental yardsticks used for cost comparison, capital cost and the levelized cost of electricity.
  • Insight relating to the most innovative technologies and potential areas of opportunity for manufacturers.
  • Examination of the key power generation technologies costs.
  • Identification of the key trends shaping the market, as well as an evaluation of emerging trends that will drive innovation moving forward.

Key benefits from reading this report

  • Realize up to date competitive intelligence through a comprehensive power cost analysis in electricity power generation markets.
  • Assess power generation costs and analysis – including capital costs, overnight costs, levelized costs and risk analysis.
  • Identify which key trends will offer the greatest growth potential and learn which technology trends are likely to allow greater market impact.
  • Compare how carbon costs will effect the industry in direct comparisons or renewable and conventional technologies using financial and life cycle analysis.
  • Quantify structural costs of grid extension, the effect of drivers, legislation and tariffs, installation costs, and the cost of electricity.

Key findings of this report

  • Onshore wind power is potentially the cheapest of all the renewable technologies and it can be built for as little as $1,850/kW.
  • South Korean coal-fired power plants were estimated to cost $1,218/kW while in China the cost was even lower at $813/kW.
  • Adding CCS to a combined cycle power plant would raise the cost of electricity from the plant to $100.2/MWh.
  • A PC plant with CCS, meanwhile would provide electricity for £107/MWh.
  • In China the cost of wind power is notably higher than in the USA at $46/MWh, $60/MWh and $72/MWh at the three discount rates and in Germany it is much higher ($77/MWh - $108/MWh).

Key questions answered by this report

  • What are the drivers shaping and influencing power plant development in the electricity industry?
  • What are the life cycle carbon emissions of the various power generation technologies?
  • What is power generation going to cost?
  • Which power generation technology types will be the winners and which the losers in terms power generated, cost and viability?
  • Which power generation types are likely to find favour with manufacturers moving forward?
  • Which emerging technologies are gaining in popularity and why?

Who this report is for

Power utility strategists, energy analysts, research managers, power sector manufacturers, power developers, investors in renewables systems and infrastructure, renewable energy developers, energy/power planning managers, energy/power development managers, governmental organisations, system operators, companies investing in renewable power infrastructure and generation, investment banks, infrastructure developers and investors, intergovernmental lenders, energy security analysts.

Why buy Electricity Costs and Economics: 2015 to 2025

  • To utilise in-depth assessment and analysis of the current and future technological and market state of power, carried out by an industry expert with 30 years in the power generation industry.
  • Use cutting edge information and data.
  • Use the highest level of research carried out. expert analysis to say what is happening in the market and what will happen next.
  • Have the 'what if' questions answered.
  • Save time and money by having top quality research done for you at a low cost.

Key Market Issues

  • Environmental requirements:- The volume of fossil fuels burnt for power and heat generation have continually grown in line with economic, infrastructure and population growth. The resulting growth of carbon dioxide emissions globally has been linked to global warming and thereon climate change. Political, environmentalist and consumer pressures to lower carbon emissions is creating a path for lower carbon emitting power generation technologies.
  • The cost of power:- The levelized cost of power remains an imperfect tool for comparing generating technologies but it is probably the best available provided its limitations are taken into account. Current levelized costs and levelized cost trends show overall prices rises over the past decade but some changes in relative cost too. Meanwhile the liberalized energy markets of the world have shown increasing signs of the type of cyclical behavior notable in financial markets. This and other factors have led to questioning of the fitness of the open market model to the provision of low cost stable electricity supplies.
  • Carbon dioxide emission management costs:- Carbon emissions are becoming part of the economic equation, and the cost of emitting a tonne of CO2 will be an important factor in determining future power plant economics. The introduction of carbon capture and storage to conventional technologies such as coal effect the cost of power generated by these plants, where renewable technologies such as wind and solar have no fuel costs, but require additional structure and balancing costs.

Key areas covered by the report

  • Key products/categories profiled
  • Energy
    • Electricity Costs and Economics  – capital costs and capital cost trends, particularly within the main renewable technologies, levelized costs and historical levelized cost trends, historical costs of electricity and fuel costs and fuel cost trends.
  • Key regions/countries covered
    • Europe and United States of America. Global focus.

Published By: Power Generation Research
Product Code: Power Generation Research11

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