Electricity

Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 9th March 2010.

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Photo of Lembit Öpik Lembit Öpik Liberal Democrat, Montgomeryshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's latest estimate is of the cost of electricity in pence per kWh provided by (a) coal combustion plants, (b) pulverised fuel steam plants, (c) open-cycle gas turbines, (d) gas combustion plants, (e) nuclear fission plants, (f) biomass combustion plants, (g) offshore wind turbines, (h) onshore wind turbines and (i) wave and marine (hydroelectricity) plants; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Kidney David Kidney Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Work is ongoing to update the Department of Energy and Climate Change's cost assumptions for different forms of generation.

The Government have carried out analysis on generation costs in recent years to inform policy decisions. Some of these estimates were published as part of the Energy Review (2006):

http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file32014.pdf

The analysis underpinning Renewable Energy Strategy, published in July 2009, used assumptions on the generating costs of different renewable electricity generation technologies, full details of which are set out in Element (2009) and Redpoint/Trilemma (2009), which are available on the DECC website.

Table 1: Levelised cost estimates for renewable generation plant
Technology Levelised cost (£/MWh)
Wind generation plant
Onshore wind 74-103
Offshore wind 112-131
Biomass plant
Biomass 114-146
Wave and tidal stream
Wave 240
Tidal stream 191

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have published estimated levelised costs (£/MWh, in 2008 prices) associated with 1 MWh of electricity generated, for their December 2008 report:

http://www.theccc.org.uk/pdf/TSO-ClimateChange.pdf

Their analysis for non-renewable plant is set out in table 2 and include construction, operation and maintenance costs and where applicable the cost of carbon allowances (EU ETS). Moreover, for nuclear, they also include the costs of decommissioning and waste.

Table 2: Levelised cost estimates for non-renewable generation plant
Technology Levelised cost (£/MWh)
Coal-fired plant
Coal (pulverised fuel)-central fuel 54
Gas-fired plant
CCGT-central fuel 53
Nuclear plant
Nuclear 51

It should be noted that the estimates of levelised costs for different types of electricity generation are highly sensitive to the assumptions used for capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, load factor, and other drivers. In reality, there are large uncertainties and ranges around these figures.

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