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Energy: Power Stations

Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost per unit of electricity provided by (a) wind turbines; (b) coal-fired power stations without carbon capture; (c) coal-fired power stations with carbon capture; (d) gas-fired power stations; and (e) nuclear power stations, including decommissioning costs. [HL4692]

The Government have carried out analysis on generation costs in some detail in recent years to inform policy decisions. Some of these estimates were published as part of the Energy Review (2006) (http://www.berr. More recently the Committee on Climate Change has published estimated levelised costs (£/MWh, in 2008 prices) associated with 1 MWh of electricity generated, for its December 2008 report (, as set out in table 1 below, including construction, operation and maintenance costs and where applicable the cost of carbon allowances (EU ETS). Moreover, for nuclear, it also includes the costs of decommissioning and waste.

It should be noted that the estimates of levelised costs1 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.


Levelised cost (£/MWh) 2010

Levelised cost (£/MWh) 2020

Wind Plant

Onshore Wind (High wind)



Offshore Wind (High wind)



Coal-fired plant

Coal—central fuel



Coal CCS—central fuel


Gas-fired plant

CCGT—central fuel



Nuclear plant




1 Total lifetime costs of a technology, expressed per-unit. The figure is based on an assumption of the technology's likely output over its lifetime.

The updating of cost assumptions for a range of generation technologies is also ongoing to take account of developments over the past year. The costs of most generation technologies have increased over the past 18 months, primarily due to increases in input prices. Work is ongoing to update the Government's cost assumptions for different forms of generation.