Natural Gas Power Plant Costs for Operation & Maintenance- US

Goals

To obtain the average cost for operation and maintenance at natural gas power plants in the United States.

Early Findings

Costs to Operate & Maintain Gas Power Plants

  • The costs to run and maintain a power plant in the United States varies greatly by the type of power plant being operated. In 2017, an advanced nuclear power plant had fixed costs that totaled about 101.28 U.S. dollars per kilowatt per year, while its variable costs reached 2.32 U.S. dollars per megawatt hour. In comparison, a conventional gas/oil combination cycle plant has about 11.11 U.S. dollars per kilowatt per year in fixed costs with 3.54 U.S. dollars per megawatt hour in variable costs.
  • Fixed costs of power plants generally include capital and land costs, which include labor as well as costs associated with obtaining approvals and permits. Variable operating costs depend on the amount of energy produced by the plant. For fossil fuel plants, fuel costs make up most of the rest of the operating costs. In contrast, renewables tend to have no fuel costs, with the exception of biomass, and nuclear power plants also tend to have very low fuel costs. Labor and maintenance costs tend to make up the bulk of operational costs for these plants.

Annual Energy Outlook 2019

  • Natural gas experiences the largest production increase of all fossil fuels during the projection period across all cases, driven by continued development of lower-cost shale gas and tight oil resources. The growth in natural gas production supports increasing domestic consumption, particularly in the industrial and electric power sectors, and higher levels of natural gas exports.
  • Operations and maintenance (O&M) costs represent the annual expenditures required to operate and maintain a plant over its lifetime, including:
  • Insurance, taxes, land lease payments, and other fixed costs,
  • Present value and annualized large component replacement costs over technical life
  • Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance of power plants, transformers, and other components over the technical lifetime of the plant.
  • Market data for comparison are limited and generally inconsistent in the range of costs covered and the length of the historical record.
  • This graph depicts the O&M cost for the four types of gas plants, but attempts to locate the actual numbers were unsuccessful.

US Energy Information Administration

  • The US Energy Information Administration provides detailed breakdowns of the costs, with base overnight costs and breakdowns by region in tables 2 and 3 of the Annual Energy Outlook.
  • They also provide a study that was just released this month that breaks down costs in relation to how many MW are produced. They also offered multiple variables, such as age of equipment. It may be viewed here.
We searched our proprietary database and did not find any research relevant to this question.

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