Clarity on the true cost of electricity

The question of electricity cost is tricky. Most of us know oil prices go up and down – and are currently at record highs – which in turn affects the power price. And we know that not only to the costs of importing such fuels change constantly, they also – unlike renewables – produce carbon, which has to be paid for.

But while more and more people are saying onshore wind power is at “competitive” price levels, others still insist that renewables are expensive and impractical.

In order to clear up the issue , EWEA has developed an online tool that instantly calculates electricity costs, including any fuel and carbon risks, for five different technologies – gas, coal, nuclear, onshore and offshore wind turbines. The users are free to type in their own assumptions on, for example, coal and gas prices, future carbon costs, capital cost and availability.

“Using the tool, you can calculate levelised costs – that means, the average cost of the electricity over the lifetime of the plant – for the main technologies,” explains EWEA’s Athanasia Arapogianni, who helped develop the tool.

By choosing to compare, for example, onshore wind and coal for the year 2010 and projected costs for 2020, the tool shows that last year, wind farm energy cost €65.7 per megawatt hour (MWh) compared to coal’s €69.4, and by 2020 the gap should be even wider – €82.5 for coal and €58.2 for wind energy.

Try the tool for yourself:

By Sarah Azau,