The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funds the development of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) Annual Technology Baseline (ATB). The ATB is a transparent set of current and projected technology cost and performance data for electricity generation technologies: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, coal, natural gas, and nuclear. The data is used as modeling input assumptions for NREL analysis and helps to inform electric sector analysis in the United States. It is also freely available for use by others in their energy analysis.
Read the NREL press release about the 2017 update, which was released in August.
Key 2017 Highlights:
Wind and solar photovoltaic costs continue to be predicted to decline in the short term; other renewable technologies not as dynamic but could see cost declines as U.S. projects are completed.
Photovoltaic capital expenditures have declined since 2009, and these reductions are expected to continue in the near term.
Wind technology improvements are driven by both capacity factor increases and capital expenditure reductions dependent on resource quality.
Assumptions about macroeconomic factors, such as interest rates, affect capital intensive renewables technologies more than fossil generators.