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Comparing the Cost of Low-Carbon Technologies: What is the Cheapest Option?

An analysis of new wind, solar, nuclear and CCS based on current support schemes in the UK and Germany

Two decades of technological advancement have led to drastic declines in the cost of power from wind and photovoltaic (PV) systems. Yet how competitive are wind and solar systems in comparison to other CO2-free technologies?

The study examines feed-in tariffs for new nuclear power plants in the UK as well as feed-in tariffs for green power provided under Germany's Renewable Energy Act. The study concludes that nuclear power as well as Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) - a technology not currently available in Europe - are both more expensive than wind and solar power as a strategy for preventing climate change.

In addition to examining the specific costs of power generation, the study estimates the overall costs of a power production system that uses reserve-capacity power plants fired by natural gas to make up for weather-dependent shortfalls in power generation from wind and solar. It concludes that a reliable power system based on wind, solar, and natural-gas power plants would be 20% cheaper than a power system based on nuclear power and natural gas.

Autor: Matthias Deutsch, Leonard Krampe, Frank Peter, Silvan Rosser

Kunde: Agora Energiewende

Jahr: 2014

Typ: Study

Tags: wind power, environment, photovoltaics,