Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cost to Convert Renewables into Electricity



A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE provides a current cost comparison for the conversion of different forms of energy into electric current and a forecast for the further development of costs by the year 2030. The Freiburg scientists analyze both the electricity production costs for renewable and conventional energy technologies. They present comparative figures for new power plants based on solar, wind and biogas, as well as brown, coal and gas in Germany. The study shows that electricity generation costs of renewable energy have fallen sharply in recent years and have reached the connection to the cost of conventional power generation technologies. By 2030, the cost of electricity from PV and wind systems are even located in Germany under which fossil fuel power plants.



Cost to Convert Renewables into Electricity in Germany





Renewable and conventional energies compared

The scientists analyzed photovoltaic systems at sites in Germany with a horizontal global radiation 1000-1200 kWh / (m² a). Their conclusion: Cost-effective ground-mounted PV systems that are built in 2013 in southern Germany can achieve electricity production costs of around 0.08 € / kWh. Even small rooftop PV systems in northern Germany can produce for less than 0.14 € / kWh of electricity today and are well below the average household electricity price of 0.29 € / kWh.

For wind turbines showed: On very good sites produce onshore wind turbines at a lower cost electricity than coal or gas and steam power plants. The electricity generation costs for onshore wind energy is today from 0.05 to 0.11 € / kWh. In contrast, offshore wind turbines seen despite higher full-load hours with 0.12 to 0.19 € / kWh significantly higher electricity production costs. In the offshore technology, however, there is still considerable cost reduction potential, while it is nearly maxed out at onshore wind turbines. Biogas plants arrive depending on usage and type of fuel to 0.14 to 0.22 € / kWh.

"The decisive factor for the competitiveness of renewable and conventional energy sources are not the cost alone, but also upstream and downstream costs," says Christoph Kost, project leader at Fraunhofer ISE. "Natural conditions such as sunlight and wind supply, financing costs and risk premiums for new power plants have considerable influence on the results. Only with their account, we can really compare the electricity production costs of individual technologies together and illustrate the competitiveness of renewable energy convincing. "

As reference values, the study draws on the electricity production costs of new conventional lignite, hard coal and natural gas power plants. Depending on the assumed full load hours, fuel and CO2 allowance prices are in electricity generation costs of lignite-to-date with up to 0,053 € / kWh, coal at up to 0.080 Euro / kWh and gas and steam power plants (CCPP) at up to 0.098 Euro / kWh.

Photovoltaic and wind Outlook and Forecast 2030

After evaluation and comparison of all the data give the scientists of the Fraunhofer ISE following outlook: "By 2030, the electricity production costs for photovoltaic, will decrease to 0.06 to 0.09 € / kWh. Thus, even small roof installed PV systems compete with onshore wind and the increased electricity production costs of brown coal, hard coal and combined cycle power plants, "says Prof. Eicke R. Weber, Director of Fraunhofer ISE. Onshore wind turbines will also reduce their electricity production costs compared to conventional power plants and by 2020 be comparable to brown coal, as the full-load hours of conventional power plants will decline in the course of the energy transition and CO2 allowance prices could rise. In a comparison of renewable energy among each other shows that the cost of PV and onshore wind turbines are the future at the same level significantly below 0.10 € / kWh. The race for the cost leadership will win these two technologies so clear. Although offshore wind farms have higher costs, but at the same time the advantage of higher full-load hours. The higher costs for biomass plants is offset by their controllability.

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