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Historical Power Plant Costs and Efficiencies?

  1. Apr 10, 2017 #1
    I'm wondering if anyone knows where I could find information on historical costs and efficiencies of various sources of energy (hydroelectricity, coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc.) and plant types (steam, diesel, and gas turbine), especially at facilities of various sizes. That information isn't too difficult to find for more recent facilities and also for historical nuclear and renewable power facilities, but I haven't been able to find it for those using other technologies and fuel sources.

    In terms of the cost estimates, I'm looking for something similar to the thermal power cost estimates from this.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    You didn't say how far back in history, nor in which parts of the world you are interested in, nor how detailed or how accurate your needs are.

    In the USA and for the most recent years, the EIA and the EEI are your best source. But even with those two, you may have to do a lot of digging to find exactly what you want.

    Another source is The Statistical Abstract of the USA. It has lots of energy history, but it may aggregate more than you want. Every public library has a copy.

    You linked one source, a paper or report or article. That's one way to go, find papers/reports/articles from each of the decades you are interested in.

    Good luck
  4. Apr 10, 2017 #3
    I'm looking for information going back to just after World War II, around the late 1940s to the present. I'm primarily interested in the United States market, although data from other areas of the world would be of interest too. That would give a good indication not just of the economics of different power sources across time, but also across different areas. For example, some countries were heavier users of petroleum power than others.

    In terms of detail, I'm looking for more information than a levelized cost estimate, although those are still of interest to me in terms of providing a basic level of information. Something similar to Table 1 on page 6 (PDF page 10) of this report plus capacity factors would work. The cost per kW capacity is very important though, since it is possible to approximate many of the other numbers based off general information known about the era (capacity factors, thermal efficiency, fuel costs, etc.).
  5. Apr 10, 2017 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    It takes a vast amount of work to pull that data together. Most likely someone has done it and published it, but I don't know where to find it. Hopefully some other PF member will have a link for you.

    You might try contacting the actual people who work at EIA and ask them for some references.
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