The data gathered here are for informational purposes only. Inclusion of a report in the database does not represent approval of the estimates by DOE or NREL. Levelized cost calculations DO NOT represent real world market conditions. The calculation uses a single discount rate in order to compare technology costs only.

About the Cost Database

For emerging energy technologies, a variety of cost and performance numbers are cited in presentations and reports for present-day characteristics and potential improvements. Amid a variety of sources and methods for these data, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s technology development programs determine estimates for use in program planning.

The Transparent Cost Database collects program cost and performance estimates for EERE technologies in a public forum where they can be viewed and compared to other published estimates. The database includes literature on technology cost and performance estimates (both current and future projections) for vehicles, biofuels, and electricity generation. All data are downloadable for full transparency.

This project is under active development and we welcome user suggestions for additional features or modifications to enhance usability for the energy community. The database also allows nomination of data sets for inclusion in the database or comments on the estimates used by interested users.

Database fields - generation

Data dictionary as of April 4th, 2012.
Field machine name Field name Field description
guid guid Used by database
guid_copy guid_copy Used by database
title title Used by database
Official Program Number is_official_est Indicates if row is program estimate. 1 indicates is program estimate.
TechnologyID Technologyid unique id from db
Dataset_name DatasetName Name of study
Year Year Year of study
Data_vintage_year DataVintageYear
Technology Technology Type of technology
Technology_Subtype TechnologySubtype Technology subtype
Fuel Fuel Fuel type
PV_material PvMaterial Type of photovoltaic material
PV_axis PvAxis PV axis - Fixed, 1 axis or 2 axis
CSP_storage_hours CspStorageHours CSP - number of hours of storage at full capacity
CSP_cooling_system CspCoolingSystem Wet block or Dry block
Market_type MktTypeComResUtility Indicates Market type. eg. commercial, residential, utility
Resource_Quality_1 ResourceQuality1 Resource quality for renewable energy - describes wind and solar by class
Resource_Quality_2 ResourceQuality2 Secondary resource characterization. Currently used only for onshore and offshore wind
Capacity_MW CapacityMw Capacity in megawatts
Installed_Capacity_MW InstalledCapacityMW Installed capacity in megawatts
PV_Current_AC_or_DC PvCurrentAcOrDc Photovoltaic current is either AC or DC
Overnight_Capital_Cost_dollar_per_kW OnghtCptlCostDolPerKw Overnight capital cost dollar per kilowatt
Contingency_Factor ContingencyFactor Multiplication factor to original overnight capital cost allow for contingency
Overnight_Capital_Cost_dollar_per_kW_including_Contingency OnghCptCstDlKwInclCtng Overnight capital cost dollar per kilowatt including contingency
Learning_Factor LearningFactor Reduction in capital due to learning - will generally be less than 1.0
Technology_Optimism TechnologyOptimism
Metals_Metal_Products_PPI MetalsMetalProductsPpi Metals index
Variable_O_M_dollar_per_MWh VariableOMDolPerMwh Variable operating and maintenance costs dollars per megawatts
Fixed_O_M_dollar_per_kW FixedOMDolPerKw Fixed operating and maintenance costs dollar per kilowatts
O_M_All-Inclusive OMAllInclusive All inclusive operating and maintenance costs.
Leadtime_years Leadtimeyears Number of years required to build - check if includes planning
Lifetime_Years LifetimeYears Asset life
Heat_Rate HeatRate Heat rate.
Thermal_Efficiency ThermalEfficiency Thermal efficiency
Storage_Efficiency StorageEfficiency Storage efficiency
Avg_Capacity_Factor AvgCapacityFactor Average capacity factor
Min_Capacity_Factor MinCapacityFactor Mininum capactiy factor
Max_Capacity_Factor MaxCapacityFactor Maximum capacity factor
Availability_Factor AvailabilityFactor Percentage of time capacity is available e.g. not unavailable due to planned or unplanned outtages
CO2_Metric_Tons_Per_MWh Co2MetricTonsPerMwh how much CO2 generated in metric tons per megawatt hours
Dataset_type2 DtstTypMdlMktEngnrgPgm Dataset type. Values: Engineering, Field Data, Market Analysis, Model, Program
Modeling_version MdlingVerCaseOrScnario Modeling version
Dataset_web_source DatasetWebSource Web source of study
Dollar_Year DolYear Year in which dollar price is given
Materials_costs_assumptions MtrlsCostsAssumptions Assumptions for material costs.
Labor_costs_assumptions LaborCostsAssumptions Assumptions for laber costs.
Type_of_incentives_included TypeOfIncentivesIncld Type of incentives included
Data_Type DataType Data type.
Data_publication_year DataPublicationYear Year data published
VariableOMDolPerMwhNote Notes for Variable OM field
PvMaterialNote Notes for PV Materials field.
GeneralCapacityFactorNote Notes for Capacity Factor fields.
DataVintageYearNote Notes for Data Vintage Year field.
DatasetNameNote Notes for Dataset Name field.
OnghCptCstDlKwInclCtngNote Notes for Overnight Capital Cost field.
FuelNote Notes for Fuel field.
GeneralOMNote Notes for all OM (Operating and maintenance) fields
HeatRateNote Notes for Heat Rate field.
GeneralCostsNote Notes for cost fields.
GeneralHeatRateEffNote Notes for efficiency fields.
TechnologyNote Notes for technology field.
GeneralNote Notes about the study
AvgCapacityFactorNote Notes about the Average capacity factor field.
OnghtCptlCostDolPerKwNote Notes for overnight capital cost field.
Final_Capital_Cost_dollar_per_kW FinalCptlCostDolPerKw Final capital costs dollar per kilowatt
Final_Lifetime_Years FinalLifetimeYears Uses lifetime specified or uses 30 years if blank
Final_Heat_Rate FinalHeatRate Uses heat rate specified or used default heat rate for technology if blank
Final_Capacity_Factor FinalCapacityFactor Uses capacity factors specified or uses default capacity factor for technology if bank
PV_of_Depreciation PvOfDepreciation PV of depreciation - varies by technology
Capital_Recovery_Factor CapitalRecoveryFactor Capital recovery factor - varies by technology
Fuel Cost FuelCost Cost of fuel. Used in LCOE calculation
LCOE_7%_Discount_Rate_39.2%_Tax_Rate LCOE Calculated Levelized Cost Of Energy value


Database fields - fuels

Data dictionary as of January 17th, 2012.
Field machine name Field name Field description
guid Field used by database.
title Field used by database.
is_official_est Official Program Number indicates if used as program estimate.
report_author Summary of Biofuels Production Cost Estimates Who created the report.
report_name Andy Aden, NREL Report name.
report_source Updated 6/07/2011 Source of report.
FuelsGeneralComments RESULTS Comments about the report.
report_year Year of publication Year report published.
generalfueltype Fuel type.
tech_type General Technology Pathway Technology type.
yearsdollars years dollars ($) The year dollar values are assumed.
yearsdollarnote years dollars ($) note Notes on years dollars($) field.
capital_cost capital ($/gal) Capital cost in dollars per gallon.
operating_cost O&M, Including Taxes ($/gal) Operations and maintenance costs including taxes in dollars per gallon.
coprodcreditdlgal Coproduct Credit ($/gal) Coproduct Credit ($/gal)
feedstock_cost Feedstock cost ($/gal) Cost of feedstock dollars per gallon.
TotalDolGal Total ($/gal) Total cost dollars per gallon.
TotalDolGalNote Total ($/gal) note Notes for Total ($/gal) field.
gge Total ($/gge) Total dollars per gallon gas equivalent. Sum of the costs as calculated.
TypeOfCostAnlys Type of Cost Analysis Cost analysis type
Fdstck Feedstock Feedstock type.
DlvrFstkCst Delivered Feedstock Costs Cost of delivered feedstock.
DlvrFstkCstUnit Delivered Feedstock Costs unit Unit type for Delivered feedstock costs. Eg. $/dry short ton or $/ton CO2
BmasFdrtDryMtrcTnPrDy Biomass Feedrate (dry metric tonnes per day) Biomass Feedrate dry metric tonnes per day
ScaleMmGalYr Scale (MM gal/yr) Plant scale. How much produces in million gallons per year.
TtlFlYldGlFlDryShtTnBm total fuel yield (gal fuel/ dry short ton biomass) Total fuel yield in gal fuel/ dry short ton biomass units
GenTmfrmYrCnstrctnStrt General Timeframe (year construction start) General timeframe construction started.
Notes on General timeframe construction started field.
TechnologyNotes Technology notes Notes on the technology.
Coproducts Coproducts Coproducts from manufacturing
CnstrctnStrtupTmeYrs Construction and startup time (years) Number of years Construction and startup time.
OnlineCapctyFactorPrct Online / capacity factor (%) Percentage online capacity factor
DiscountRatePrctIrr Discount rate (%) / IRR Discount rate to Internal Rate of Return
TaxRatePrct Tax rate (%) Percent tax rate.
Depreciation Depreciation Depreciation
PrctDebt % debt Percent debt
PrctEquity % equity Percent equity
LoanRatePeriodPrctYrs Loan rate / period (%, years) Loan rate / period (%, years)
PlntLifeAnlysPeriodYrs Plant life / analysis period (years) Years for plant life / analysis period.
CostEscltnRatePrctAnnl Cost Escalation rate (% annual) Percent annual cost escalation rate.
TotalCapitalCostDol Total Capital Cost ($) Total Capital Cost
IncludeCoprodCredit Field to indicate if coproduct credit should be used in LCOF calculation. 1=use it. 0=don't use it.

Database fields - vehicles

Data dictionary as of March 13th, 2012.
Field machine name Field name Field description
guid Field used by database
guid_tcopy Field used by database
title Field used by database
SourceDocument Source Document - Study name
YearPublished Year Published Year study was published
Source Source Unique source label identifier
OrigSrcsCited Original Sources Cited, if any Original sources cited within report or elsewhere
GeneralComments General Comments Comments about the study
Scenario Scenario Scenario description given in report
ScenarioLabel Scenario - Label Conservative,Moderate, Optimistic, Mod to Optimistic, Not specified, Actual
ScenarioPercentile Scenario - Percentile (only if stated) Scenario percentile if stated
VhclTypeGeneral Vehicle Type - General Vehicle type - report description rather than label
VhclTypeLabel Vehicle Type - Label Type of vehicle. Valid values: Conventional Gasoline, Conventional Diesel, Gasoline Hybrid, Diesel Hybrid, PHEV, Battery, Fuel Cell, Advanced Gasoline, Natural Gas
VhclSizeLabel Vehicle Size - Label Size of vehicle. Valid values: Midside, SUV, Compact, Pick up, Not specified
BuildYear Build Year Year built.
CurrencyType Currency type for dollar values.
ConversionRateUsed Conversion Rate Used in US dollar columns.
TtlVhclCstRtlMsrpDlEur Total Vehicle Cost (Retail or MSRP) ($ or Euros) Total Vehicle Cost (Retail or MSRP) ($ or Euros)
TtlVhclCstRtlMsrpUsd Total vehicle cost in US dollars
VhclCstRtlMsrpDlEur Vehicle Cost (Retail or MSRP) ($ or Euros) Vehicle Cost (Retail or MSRP) ($ or Euros)
VhclCstRtlMsrpUsd Vehicle Cost in US dollars.
VhclPrcIcrmtlRtlMsrp Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Retail or MSRP)$ or Euros Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Retail or MSRP)$ or Euros
VhclPrcIcrmtlRtlMsrpUsd Vehicle Price in US dollars.
MppngVehPriceIcrmntl Mapping - Vehicle Price (Incremental) ($ or Euros) Incremental cost to base price
VhclCstManufactDlEur Vehicle Cost (Manufact) $ or Euros Vehicle Cost (Manufact) $ or Euros
VhclCstManufactUsd Vehicle Cost in US dollars.
VhclPrcIcrmtlManuDlEur Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Manu)$ or Euros Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Manu)$ or Euros
VhclPrcIcrmtlManuUsd Vehicle incremental price in US dollars.
ConstantDlYear Constant $(year) Constant year dollars assumption
CumSalesFiguresK Cum Sales Figures (K) Cumulative sales figures
CumSalesFiguresKUsd Cumlative sales figures in US dollars.
EstmtdVhclManufCst estimated vehicle manuf cost (some raw data, some estimated) $ Estimated vehicle manufacturing cost (some raw data, some estimated) in US dollars
CalculatedMpgg Calculated mpgg - Not raw data Calculated miles per gallon gasoline
FuelEffcncyOnRoad Fuel Efficiency (On Road) On road Fuel Efficiency
FuelEffcncyOnRoadUnits Fuel Efficiency (On Road) Units On road Fuel Efficiency Units. Valid values: gal/100 miles, mpgge, litres/100km, MJ/km, kWh/km
FuelEfncyOnRoadDrvCycl Fuel Efficiency (On Road) Drive Cycle On road Fuel Efficiency Drive Cycle
FuelUseMjKm Fuel Use (MJ/km) Fuel use in Mega-Joules/kilometers
FuelType Fuel Type Type of fuel used by vehicle. Valid values: Gasoline, Diesel, Gas & Elec, Diesel & Elec, Electricity, Hydrogen, H2 & Elec, Ethanol Flex Fuel, Natural gas, Propane
NonElectOnlyMode Non-Elect Only Mode Mpgge - Non electric mode only
ElctrcityOnlyMode Electricity Only Mode Mpgge - Electric mode only
FuelUplift Fuel Uplift Mpgge uplift of base mileage (>1.0)
ElctrcityUplift Electricity uplift Mpgge uplift of base mileage - for electric only mode (>1.0)
BattryOnlyRngNomMiles Battery only range (Nom) (miles) Battery only range - nominal
BattryOnlyRngMiles Battery only range (miles) Range in miles battery only
SeriesOrParallelDrvtrn Series or Parallel Drivetrain Indicates if drivetrain is series or parallel.
DiscountRateReal Discount Rate (real) Discount rate
AssetLifeYrs Asset Life (Yrs) Asset life in years.
AnnualKmTravelled Annual km travelled Annual kilometers traveled
PowerTrainCstDl Power Train Cost ($) Power Train Cost
PowerTrainCstDlUsd Power train cost in US dollars.
BattryCstDlKwhNmplate Battery Cost ($/kWh) - Nameplate Battery cost nameplate in dollar per kilowatt hour.
BattryCstDlKwhNmplateUsd Battery cost nameplate in US dollars.
BattryCstDlKwh Battery cost ($/kWh) Battery cost in dollars per kilowatt hour.
BattryCstDlKwhUsd Battery cost per killowatt hour in US dollars.
BattryPowerKw Battery Power (kW) Batter power in kilowatt hours
BattryEnrgyKwhNmPlate Battery Energy (KWh) Name Plate Battery energy (kWh) nameplate
BattryEnrgyKwh Battery Energy (kWh) Battery Energy (kWh)
Soc SOC State of charge
BattryCycleLifeOverSoc Battery Cycle Life over SOC Battery life over SOC
BattryLifetimeYears Battery Lifetime (years) Battery life in years.
BattryTech Battery Tech Battery technology.
BattryCstDl Battery Cost ($) Battery cost.
BattryCstDlUsd Battery Cost in US dollars.
BattryWeightKg Battery Weight (kg) Weight of batter in kilograms.
EnginePowerKw Engine Power (kW) Engine power in kilowatts
EngineWeightKg Engine Weight (kg)) Weight of engine in kilograms.
EngineCstDl Engine Cost ($) Cost of engine.
EngineCstDlUsd Cost of engine in US dollars.
MotorPowerKw Motor Power (kW) Motor power in kilowatts
MotorWeightKg Motor Weight (kg) Weight of motor in kilograms.
MotorCstDl Motor Cost ($) Cost of motor.
MotorCstDlUsd Motor cost in US dollars.
FuelCellLifetimeYears Fuel Cell Lifetime (years) Number of years of life of fuel cell.
FuelCellTech Fuel Cell Tech Fuel cell technology.
FuelCellWeightKg Fuel Cell Weight (kg) Weight of fuel cell in kilograms.
FuelCellCstDl Fuel Cell Cost ($) Cost of fuel cell.
FuelCellCstDlUsd Cost of fuel cell in US dollars.
FuelCellCstDlKw Fuel Cell Cost ($/kW) Cost of Fuel cell ($/kW)
FuelCellCstDlKwUsd Cost of fuel cell per kilowatt in US dollars.
FuelCellPowerKw Fuel Cell Power (kW) Fuel cell power in kilowatts.
HyrdgnStorageCstDl Hydrogen Storage Cost ($) Hydrogen storage costs.
HyrdgnStorageCstDlUsd Hydrogen storage costs in US dollars.
HybridizationRatio Hybridization Ratio Ratio of hybridization.
WeightKg Weight (kg) Weight of vehicle in kilograms.
Acceration060MphS Acceration (0-60 mph (s)) Acceleration from 0-60 miles per hour in seconds.
PowerHorsepower Power (horsepower) Horsepower
PowerRpm Power (RPM) Power in revolutions per minute
InfrstrcPerVhclHyrdgn Infrastruc per vehicle for Hydrogen Incremental infrastructure cost per hydrogen vehicle
InfrstrcPerVhclElctrc Infrastruc per vehicle for Electric Incremental infrastructure cost per electric vehicle
CstOfCharger Cost of charger Cost of charger
CstOfChargerUsd Cost of charger in US dollars.
BattryEffcncy Battery Efficiency Battery Efficiency
VhclTypeGeneralNote Vehicle Type - General Note Notes for Vehicle type-general field.
VhclTypeLabelNote Vehicle Type - Label Note Notes for Vehicle Type - Label field.
FuelEffcncyOnRoadNote Fuel Efficiency (On Road) Note Notes for Fuel Efficiency (On Road) field.
EngineCstDlNote Engine Cost ($) Note Notes for Engine Cost ($) field.
WeightKgNote Weight (kg) Note Notes for Weight (kg) field.
FuelEffcncyOnRoadUnitsNote Fuel Efficiency (On Road) Units Note Notes for Fuel Efficiency (On Road) Units field.
AnnualKmTravelledNote Annual km travelled Note Notes for Annual km travelled field.
BattryLifetimeYearsNote Battery Lifetime (years) Note Notes for Battery Lifetime (years) field.
BattryOnlyRngNomMilesNote Battery only range (Nom) (miles) Note Notes for Battery only range (Nom) (miles) field.
SeriesOrParallelDrvtrnNote Series or Parallel Drivetrain Note Notes for Series or Parallel Drivetrain field.
DiscountRateRealNote Discount Rate (real) Note Notes for Discount Rate (real) field.
InfrstrcPerVhclHyrdgnNote Infrastruc per vehicle for Hydrogen Note Notes for Infrastruc per vehicle for Hydrogen field.
CumSalesFiguresKNote Cum Sales Figures (K) Note Notes for Cum Sales Figures (K) field.
BattryCstDlNote Battery Cost ($) Note Notes for Battery Cost ($) field.
VhclCstRtlMsrpDlEurNote Vehicle Cost (Retail or MSRP) ($ or Euros) Note Notes for Vehicle Cost (Retail or MSRP) ($ or Euros) field.
BattryTechNote Battery Tech Note Notes for Battery Tech field.
BattryEnrgyKwhNote Battery Energy (kWh) Note Notes for Battery Energy (kWh) field.
FuelCellCstDlNote Fuel Cell Cost ($) Note Notes for Fuel Cell Cost ($) field.
VhclPrcIcrmtlRtlMsrpNote Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Retail or MSRP)$ or Euros Note Notes for Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Retail or MSRP)$ or Euros field.
VhclPrcIcrmtlManuDlEurNote Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Manu)$ or Euros Note Notes for Vehicle Price (Incremental) (Manu)$ or Euros field.
Is_official_est Indicates if is program estimate.
LCOD calculation Calculated levelized cost of driving.
PHEV only for calculation purpose, value copied into LCOD column
VehiclesSourceURI Source URI
VehiclesSourceDescription Vehicles Source Description


Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Forumulas

Levelizing costs in the database for all technologies is based on a similar calculation, with:

Levelized cost = total costs (including annualized capital and yearly operating) divided by total energy service production (in miles travelled or energy generated).

Capital expenditure is turned into annual payments with a “capital recovery factor” (CRF) approach. Each calculation uses the same capital recovery factor:

CRF =D * (1 + D)N
((1 + D))N - 1)

D = discount rate               N = lifetime of the investment


Levelized costs and fuel price assumptions

Category Assumption Default Note
All Discount Rate 0.07 The assumed effective rate at which future income streams are discounted. Used to compute the capital recovery factor.
Generation Tax rate 0.392 Tax rate paid (applied after depreciation credits)
Generation Plant lifetime 30 The assumed lifetime of a new plant and the period over which the investment is computed (unless specified otherwise)
Generation LCOE - Fuel Costs
FuelPrice ($/mmBTU)
Bio Gas4.67
Natural Gas4.67
Fuel costs used in LCOE calculations.
Vehicles VMT 10000 The annual miles traveled assumed for each vehicle
Vehicles Vehicle Life 15 The years the vehicle is assumed to last and the period over which the investment is computed
Vehicles Gasoline Price $3.68 The retail price of a gallon of gasoline
Vehicles Diesel Price $3.54 The retail price of a gallon of diesel
Vehicles Electricity Price $3.866 The retail price of a gallon of gasoline equivalent
Vehicles Natural Gas Price $2.07 The retail price of a gallon of gasoline equivalent
Vehicles Propane Price $4.26 The retail price of a gallon of gasoline equivalent
Vehicles Hydrogen Price $3.90 The retail price of a gallon of gasoline equivalent
Fuels Include coproduct credit Yes Are credits given for plant coproducts such as electricity generated and sold?
Fuels Include tax credit No Are credits given for the current federal biofuels tax credit

Read the disclaimer regarding levelized costs.


Historical: shows past estimates of costs. Displays estimates from reports within the filters that make estimates for the past or for the current year.

Projections: shows estimates of future costs and technology characteristics. A single technology must be selected for clarity of data (showing all data would make graphs unreadable).

(Planned) Retrospective: Will compare the projections of older historical sources to allow the user to compare with current cost estimates (similar to ‘projections’ mode but for past and current years).

Graphical methods

Box and whisker: This method shows a data distribution without making any assumption about the underlying relationship between the data (unlike, for example, a mean and standard deviation which assumes an underlying Gaussian). It shows the data distribution using five numbers: The minimum, lowest 25%, median, highest 25%, and maximum point. Where fewer than three points are available for a column, individual data points are shown and not a box and whisker chart.

Scatter: This method simply shows all data points. Mouse over or click a point of interest for more information.

Program Estimates: The numbers used by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in program planning. For more information, see how does DOE make these estimates and more information.


The database visualization interface allows a user to filter the database to focus on data of interest.

Implemented Filters

Year Published filters based on the year the document was published. By default, all reports are used (2007 - 2015).

Estimate Year filters values for the year they pertain to. For example, our example report is published in 2012 and has data values for years 2010, 2015, 2020, etc. By limiting the Estimate Year to a range of 2008 to 2018, only values for 2010 and 2015 will be displayed. Then if you also limit the Year Published to 2008 to 2011, then none the values from this example report will be displayed. By default, all data is display (2000 – 2054).

Planned Filters

Filter by type of report (model input, market report, engineering estimate)
Filter by generation of plant (fuels) (first of kind or nth plant)

User submissions

Currently, user submission of a report or comment is via

Publically available reports submitted will be reviewed for relevant data and added to the database within 4-8 weeks, depending on quantity of relevant material in the source.

Comments will be responded to as quickly and completely as possible by the project team.


Type Report Title Authors Year Link or identifier
Fuels A techno-economic comparison of power production by biomass fast pyrolysis with gasification and combustion Bridgewater 2002
Fuels Affordable, Low-Carbon Diesel Fuel from Domestic Coal and Biomass Tarka, et al 2009
Fuels An economic and environmental comparison of a biochemical and a thermochemical lignocellulosic ethanol conversion processes Foust, 2009 DOI 10.1007/s10570-009-9317-x
Fuels An economic comparison of different fermentation configurations to convert corn stover to ethanol using Z. mobilis and Saccharomyces Dutta, et al 2010 DOI 10.1002/btpr.311
Fuels Analysis of the Effects of Compositional and Configurational Assumptions on Product Costs for the Thermochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Mixed Alcohols – FY 2007 rogress Report Zhu, et al 2008
Fuels Biochemical Production of Ethanol from Corn Stover: 2007 State of Technology Model Aden 2008
Fuels Biochemical Production of Ethanol from Corn Stover: 2008 State of Technology Model Humbird, 2009
Fuels Comparative analysis of efficiency, environmental impact, and process economics for mature biomass refining scenarios Laser, et al 2009 DOI: 10.1002/bbb.136
Fuels Economics of Current and Future Biofuels Tao and Aden 2009 DOI: 10.1007/s11627-009-9216-8
Fuels Exploration of the possibilities for production of Fischer Tropsch liquids and power via biomass gasification Tijemensen 2002 PII: S 0961-9534(02)00037-5
Fuels Gasoline from Wood via Integrated Gasification, Synthesis, and Methanol-to- Gasoline Technologies Phillips, et al 2011
Fuels Large-Scale Pyrolysis Oil NREL/TP-510-37779 Production: A Technology November 2006 Assessment and Economic Analysis Ringer, et al 2007
Fuels Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol Process Design and Economics Utilizing Co-Current Dilute Acid Prehydrolysis and Enzymatic Hydrolysis Current and Futuristic Scenarios Wooley, et al 1999
Fuels Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to Liquid Fuels Synthesis, Volume 1: Availability of Feedstock and Technology Valkenburg, et al 2009
Fuels Outlook for advanced biofuels Hamelinck 2005 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2005.06.012
Fuels Outlook for advanced biofuels Aden, et al 2002
Fuels Outlook for advanced biofuels Hamelinck 2005 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2005.06.012
Fuels Process Design and Economics for Biochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol Humbird, et al 2011
Fuels Process Design and Economics for Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol Dutta, et al 2011
Fuels Techno-economic Analysis for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Gasoline via the Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) Process Jones and Zhu 2009
Fuels Techno-economic analysis of autotrophic microalgae for fuel production Davis, et al 2011
Fuels Techno-economic analysis of biomass fast pyrolysis to transportation fuels Wright, et al 2010 doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2010.07.029
Fuels Techno-economic analysis of biomass-to-liquids production based on gasification Swanson, et al 2010
Fuels Techno-economic comparison of process technologies for biochemical ethanol production from corn stover Kazi, et al 2010 doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2010.01.001
Fuels Techno-economic comparison of process technologies for biochemical ethanol production from corn stover Jones and Zhu 2009
Fuels Technoeconomic analysis of biofuels: A wiki-based platform for lignocellulosic biorefineries Klein-Marcuschamer et al 2010
Fuels Thermochemical Ethanol via Indirect Gasification and Mixed Alcohol Synthesis of Lignocellulosic Biomass Phillips, et al 2007
Fuels Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass National Academies 2009 ISBN 0-309-13712-8
Vehicles A portfolio of power-trains for Europe: a fact-based analysis: The role of Battery Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrids and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles McKinsey 2010
Vehicles Annual Energy Outlook - Reference Case 2011 EIA 2010 File provided by EIA, AEO ref2011.1208c Maples
Vehicles Comparative analysis of battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid vehicles in a future sustainable road transport system Offer et al 2010
Vehicles DOE 2010 Lifecycle Cost RFI (based on Program Goals) DOE 2011 Data provided by EERE link the program estimates to the latest program planning documents.
Vehicles Electric Powertrains: Opportunities and Challenges in the U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet, MIT Report Kromer and Heywood 2007
Vehicles Game Changers - EIA Energy Conference, April 2011 Moniz 2011
Vehicles GPRA FY10 Rousseau 2009 File provided by OnLocation Inc
Vehicles Multi-Path Transportation Futures Study: Vehicle Characterization and Scenario Analyses, Argonne National Laboratory Plotkin and Singh 2009
Vehicles On the Road in 2035: Reducing Transportation’s Petroleum Consumption and GHC Emissions, MIT Report Bandivadekar et al 2008
Vehicles PHEV Market Introduction Study: Final Report, Oak Ridge and Sentech Cleary et al 2010
Vehicles Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Study: Final Report, Oak Ridge and Sentech Cleary et al 2010
Vehicles Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies - A Focus on Hydrogen, National Academies Press National Research Council 2008
Vehicles Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, National Academies Press National Research Council 2010
Generation "Coal-fired Power Plant Construction Costs." Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. Cambridge, MA. July 2008 Schlissel et al. 2008 2008
Generation "EPRI-Technical Assessment Guide, Electricity supply-1993," EPRI TR-10226-V1R7m EPRI, Palo Alto, CA EPRI 1993 1993
Generation "Juice from Concentrate - Reducing Emissions with Concentrating Solar Thermal Power." World Resources Institute in conjunction with Goldman Sachs. 2009 Staley et al. 2009 2009
Generation "Renewable Energy Technical Assessment Guide-TAG-RE:2007," EPRI, Palo Alto, CA McGowin 2007 2007
Generation "Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations," EPRI-TR109496, EPRI, Palo Alto, CA DeMeo and Galdo 1997 1997
Generation "Solar Vision Study. Concentrating solar power parabolic trough, towers, and dish. Labor, equipment & Material projections. Capital Cost Projects. 10% and 20% Deployment Cases. Preliminary - For Comment." Nov 3, 2009. Sargent & Lundy 2009 2009
Generation "The Cost of New Generating Capacity in Perspective." White Paper. Aug 2008. Nuclear Energy Institute 2008 2008
Generation "The Economics of Future Nuclear Power: An update of The Economic Future of Nuclear Power (2004)." Department of Economics. Stanford University. Feb 22, 2011. Rothwell 2011 2011
Generation "The Economics of Nuclear Power." Updated Mar 9, 2011. World Nuclear Assoc 2011 2011
Generation 2007-08 Gas Turbine World Handbook (2007). Pequot Publishing Inc., Volume 26. GTW 2007 2007
Generation 2009 Wind Technologies Market Report, U.S. Department of Energy. Wiser and Bolinger 2010 2010
Generation 2010 Cost of Wind Energy Review Tegan et al 2012
Generation Annual Energy Outlook 2009 AEO 2009 2009
Generation Annual Energy Outlook 2010 AEO 2010 2010
Generation Annual Energy Outlook 2011 AEO 2011 2011
Generation California Ocean Wave Energy Assessment. California Energy Commission. PIER Renewable Energy Technologies Program Area. CEC-500-2006-119. 2006. Previsic, Mirko 2006 2006
Generation Capital Cost Recommendations for 2009 TEPPC Study. E3 2010 2010
Generation Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants Volume 3a: Low Rank Coal to Electricity: IGCC Cases Black 2010b 2010
Generation Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants. Vol 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity Black 2010a 2010
Generation Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants. Vol 3b: Low Rank Coal to Electricity: Combustion Cases Black 2010c 2010
Generation Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants. Vol 3c: Natural Gas Combined Cycle at Elevation Black 2010d 2010
Generation DOE Program Estimate DOE 2011 Data provided by EERE link the program estimates to the latest program planning documents.
Generation Environmental Protection Agency (2009). Data from Integrated Power Model (IPM), ICF International. EPA 2009 2009
Generation Environmental Protection Agency (2010). Data from Integrated Power Model (IPM), ICF International. EPA 2010 2010
Generation Escalating Estimates of the Cost of Nuclear Power Plants Analysis Group 2011 2011
Generation European Solar Thermal Electricity Association. "Concentrating Solar Power Global Outlook 09. Why Renewable Energy is Hot." ESTELA 2009 2009
Generation Government Performance and Results Act (2009). Data from Market Allocation (MARKAL) model, International Energy Agency and Brookhaven National Laboratory GPRA 2009 2009
Generation IPCC Annex 3 IPCC 2011
Generation International Energy Agency. World Energy Outlook 2008 Edition. WEO 2008 2008
Generation Large-Scale Offshore Wind Power in the United States, Assessment of Opportunities and Barriers, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-500-40745. Musial and Ram 2010 2010
Generation Lazard Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, version 4.0 Lazard 2010 2010$FILE/Ex%2013%20-%20Lazard%202010%20Levelized%20Cost%20of%20Energy%20-%20v%204.0.pdf
Generation Mini Climate Assessment Model (2008). Data from MiniCAM model, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. MiniCAM 2008 2008
Generation National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Strategic Energy Analysis Center (2008). Data from Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Logan et al 2008 2008
Generation Nuclear Power Plant Construction Costs Schlissel and Biewald 2008 2008
Generation Nuclear Power's Role in Generating Electricity CBO 2008 2008
Generation Power Plants: Characteristics and Costs. CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service. Nov 13, 2008. Kaplan 2008 2008
Generation Program on Technology Innovation: Integrated Generation Technology Options. Report No. 1022782. EPRI 2008 2008
Generation Renewable Electricity Futures Mai et al 2012 2012
Generation Small & Mid-size Nuclear Reactor Financing and Economics. The Nuclear Option: Is Small Scale Nuclear Energy an Option for Alaska? Welling 2010 2010
Generation Sunshot Solar Vision Solar Energy Technologies Program 2012
Generation The Cost of New Generating Capacity in Perspective. White Paper. Aug 2008. Nuclear Energy Institute 2008 2008
Generation The Economics of Wind, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 13, 99 1372-1382 Blanco 2009 2009
Generation Thresher, Robert. Internal Memo. National Renewable Laboratory. 2010. Thresher 2010 2010
Generation Tracking the Sun III. The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the US from 1998-2009. Barbose et al. 2010 2010
Generation US DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). Solar Energy Technologies Program. Accessed August 2011. DOE SETP 2011 2011
Generation US DOE NREL. Table 4. Concentrating Solar Power. Appendix D - GPRA07 Solar Energy Technologies Program Documentation from "Projected Benefits of Federal Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs. FY 2007 Budget Request." pp. D-6. GPRA 2007 2007
Generation Update on the Cost of Nuclear Power Du, Parsons 2009 2009
Generation Ventyx. Velocity Suite. Data extracted from New Entrants Analysis. May 2011. Ventyx 2011
Generation Wind Energy, Chapter 7, an IPPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. Wiser et al. 2011 2011


How does DOE make these estimates?

How is the other data collected?

Variables for display are extracted as published from public reports cited. Additional data not directly displayed but relevant to the estimates are collected and stored in the database for reference. Examples of these are plant scale, resource quality, dollar year used, etc.

The reports included here are not comprehensive. They were selected on the basis of analyst’s experience with the literature and include many of the external estimates more frequently used.

Additional Assumptions


Where the dollar year was not available in the publication, we assumed the year previous to the year of publication was the year used.

For levelized cost and financial assumptions see [levelized costs].


For plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, SAE 2841 Fleet Utility Curves were used to estimate the percentage of miles a vehicle would travel on electricity. This number was used to calculate the effective average miles per gallon according to the levelized cost of driving calculation.


To convert gallons of ethanol to gallons of gasoline equivalent, an energy content ratio of 0.667 gallons of gasoline equivalent per gallon of ethanol.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) applied energy R&D, including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) covers a wide variety of applications, so methodology necessarily varies by sector and technology specifics. EERE seeks to use a consistent framework and approach within sectors to allow use of these metrics (among others) in prioritization amongst technology development options. The numbers collected here represent the aggregate summary of a detailed component analysis performed by each technology program.

For many programs, these estimates and goals are the result of a detailed and ongoing roadmapping process. The goals around roadmapping are simple – to guide where and where not to make program investments and to define success metrics for a given technology program. Since new energy technologies must first compete against incumbents based on price to achieve large scale market penetration, EERE product roadmaps need to be defined around reducing costs. For many technologies within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the roadmapping process culminates in the development of detailed engineering-based estimates of cost reduction steps to meet overall cost goals.

For technology specific methods, see the program materials in the more information section.

We welcome user submissions of reports for inclusion in this database.


Externalities such as pollution, water use, and health impacts are not currently included in the cost estimates. This is an active field of research. For some links see: more information.

More information

I am looking for…

Cost of energy information

The method of levelizing energy costs is based primarily on:
Short, W., Packey, D.J., and Holt, T. “A Manual for the Economic Evaluation of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies” (1995)

for a simple LCOE calculator:

Site- or project-specific information

NREL has developed the following cost of energy tools:

    • System Advisor Model (SAM):
SAM makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that you specify as inputs to the model. The target audience is Project managers, engineers, incentive program designers, technology developers, and researchers

The Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) is an economic cash flow model designed to enable PUCs and the renewable energy community assess projects, design cost-based incentives (e.g., feed-in tariffs), and evaluate the impact of tax incentives or other support structures. CREST is a suite of three analytic tools, for solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal), wind, and geothermal technologies, respectively. The target audience is state and local stakeholders involved in policy and rate analysis.


NREL's PVWatts calculator determines the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, installers, manufacturers, and researchers to easily develop estimates of the performance of hypothetical PV installations.

Job and economic impacts of renewable projects:
The Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models are user-friendly tools that estimate the economic impacts of constructing and operating power generation and biofuel plants at the local and state levels. First developed by NREL's Wind Powering America program to model wind energy impacts, JEDI has been expanded to analyze concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, marine and hydrokinetic power, biofuels, coal and natural gas power plants.

Renewable project finance:

Geographic and resource information

Other energy analysis information

Technology details

Models and tools for all of the above:

Vehicle simulation for DOE estimates was performed by Argonne National Lab using the Autonomie tool: (general tool) (latest report with fuel consumption and cost values)

DOE program planning details:

Technology cost information for other technologies:

Carbon intensity of technologies:

For a summary of some estimates of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, see:

  • The International Panel on Climate Change’s Assessment report at IPPC
  • And a review by Richard Tol at Annual Reviews

For a summary of the health impacts of energy, see:

  • Hidden Costs of Energy by the National Academies: click here

For a summary of the water use impacts of energy, see:

  • NREL Review of Operational Water Consumption and Withdrawal Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies: click here

Recommended Citation for the TCDB

"Transparent Cost Database." (YEAR). Open Energy Information (en). Accessed MONTH DAY, YEAR:”