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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2015  |  Release Date: June 25, 2015  |  Next Release Date: July 24, 2015

Previous Issues

Highlights: April 2015

  • Florida had the largest percent increase in net generation compared to the previous year, increasing 6.4%, as the state recorded its warmest April on record.
  • The natural gas price for New York City (Transco Zone 6 NY) saw a significant decrease in price from the previous month, going from $3.73/MMBtu in March 2015 to $2.30/MMBtu in April 2015.
  • Hawaii had the largest year-over-year decline in average revenue per kilowatthour for the fourth straight month, down about 22% from last year, as the state's petroleum-heavy power sector continued to benefit from the fall in world oil prices.

Key Indicators

  April 2015 % Change from April 2014
Total Net Generation
(Thousand MWh)
293,627 -1.4%
Residential Retail Price
(cents/kWh)
12.64 2.8%
Retail Sales
(Thousand MWh)
272,159 -0.3%
Heating Degree-Days 302 -9.3%
Natural Gas Price, Henry Hub
($/MMBtu)
2.67 -44.2%
Natural Gas Consumption
(Mcf)
691,236 19.6%
Coal Consumption
(Thousand Tons)
48,704 -16.2%
Coal Stocks
(Thousand Tons)
168,192 30.5%
Nuclear Generation
(Thousand MWh)
59,757 6.0%



EIA now collects construction costs for all new electric generators

In calendar year 2014, the form EIA-860 (the Annual Electric Generator Report) began collecting unit-level construction and financing cost data for new generation units for data year 2013. The EIA-860 collects data for all utility-scale generating units at U.S. power plants where the total generator nameplate capacity is 1 megawatt (MW) or more. This is the first time that construction cost data have been collected for the census of new generators on the EIA-860. The construction costs of new generating plants play an important role in determining the mix of capacity additions that will serve future demand for electricity. All of the cost data are treated as sensitive and protected and will only be released at an aggregate level.

Notes: The gray lines on the capacity-weighted average generator cost represent +/- 1 weighted standard deviation.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report (Form EIA-860)


These cost data were collected from 543 units that collectively represent 14,038 MW of new capacity. Details of the 2013 capacity cost additions are shown below.

Energy source Generator count % of total count Summer capacity (MW) % of total capacity
Natural Gas 89 16% 6,868 48.9%
Solar 259 47% 3,461 24.6%
Wind 22 4% 859 6.1%
*Biomass 47 8% 606 4.4%
Hydro 21 4% 413 2.9%
Landfill Gas 58 11% 119 0.8%
Geothermal 10 2% 71 0.5%
Petroleum Liquids 27 5% 62 0.4%
**Other 12 2% 89 0.6%
Coal 4 1% 1,508 10.8%
Total 549 14,056
Notes: *Biomass: Include Other Biomass Gas, Other Biomass Solids, and Wood/Wood Waste Solids.
**Other: Include battery storage, flywheel, municipal solid waste and other gas.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report (Form EIA-860), 2013.

EIA is planning to integrate the new construction cost data into future issues of the Electric Power Annual. We are also exploring other ways to present this new data, which may include graphs showing the average $/kW cost by major energy sources, technology type, and census region.

Some findings by energy source include the following:

Natural Gas: The majority of capacity additions in 2013 were natural gas applications. Largely as a result of low natural gas prices and average construction costs of $953 per kilowatt (kW), natural gas units accounted for 49% of the 2013 capacity additions. Within the natural gas applications, the technology type was a significant determinant of cost. For example, natural gas- based fuel cell applications are comparatively expensive ($7,354/kW) and without the contribution of this technology, the weighted-average cost of natural gas capacity additions would have been $922/kW.

Solar: Solar accounted for 25% of the capacity additions in 2013 and almost half of the generating unit additions. The average cost of this type of application was $3,705/kW. Photovoltaic units made up 75% of the total solar capacity addition. Thermal solar applications accounted for the remaining 25%. The projects using thin-film technologies averaged $3,688/kW, and they were slightly less expensive than crystalline silicon projects, which cost $3,718/kW.

Wind: The average cost of wind applications was $1,892/kW and is the lowest of all renewable technologies. The reported new wind capacity in 2013 was less than 900 MW, a significant drop from the 13,084 MW of capacity installed in 2012.

Regional Considerations: The cost of building power plants in 2013 showed significant regional variations. For example, the cost of building a plant in the Northeast was significantly higher than in other parts of the country. There are many factors behind these regional differences including the type and size of new units installed, as well as labor, equipment, and material costs.

Notes: The gray lines on the capacity-weighted average generator cost represent +/- 1 weighted standard deviation.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report (Form EIA-860)



Principal Contributor:

Suparna Ray
(Suparna.Ray@eia.gov)

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