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Content displaying: CAPEX Definition

Annual Technology Baseline 2017

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Recommended Citation:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). 2017. 2017 Annual Technology Baseline. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Please consult Guidelines for Using ATB Data:

Biopower Plants

CAPEX Definition

Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are expenditures required to achieve commercial operation in a given year.

Overnight capital costs are modified from EIA (2014). Capital costs include overnight capital cost plus defined transmission cost, and it removes a material price index. The overnight capital costs for cofired units are not the cost of upgrading a plant but the total cost of the plant after the upgrade.

Fuel costs are taken from the Billion Ton Update study (DOE 2011).

Overnight Capital Cost ($/kW) Construction Financing Factor (ConFinFactor) CAPEX ($/kW)
Dedicated: Dedicated biopower plant $3,737 1.041 $3,889
CofireOld: Pulverized coal with sulfur dioxide (SO2) scrubbers and biomass co-firing $3,856 1.041 $4,013
CofireNew: Advanced supercritical coal with SO2 and NOx controls and biomass co-firing $3,856 1.041 $4,013

CAPEX can be determined for a plant in a specific geographic location as follows:

CAPEX = ConFinFactor*(OCC*CapRegMult+GCC).
(See the Financial Definitions tab in the ATB data spreadsheet.)

Regional cost variations and geographically specific grid connection costs are not included in the ATB (CapRegMult = 1; GCC = 0). In the ATB, the input value is overnight capital cost (OCC) and details to calculate interest during construction (ConFinFactor).

In the ATB, CAPEX represents each type of biopower plant with a unique value. Regional cost effects associated with labor rates, material costs, and other regional effects as defined by EIA (2016a) expand the range of CAPEX. Unique land-based spur line costs based on distance and transmission line costs are not estimated. The following figure illustrates the ATB representative plant relative to the range of CAPEX including regional costs across the contiguous United States. The ATB representative plants are associated with a regional multiplier of 1.0.

chart: CAPEX range for ATB representative plant and regional costs across U.S. for biopower plants.


DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 2011. U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry. Perlack, R.D., and B.J. Stokes, eds. Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL/TM-2011/224. August 2011.

EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration). 2014. Annual Energy Outlook 2014 with Projections to 2040. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy. DOE/EIA-0383(2014). April 2014.

EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration). 2016a. Capital Cost Estimates for Utility Scale Electricity Generating Plants. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy. November 2016.