Costs of renewable energy and CO2 capture and storage

This paper compares the costs and emissions of renewable energy technologies (wind, solar and biomass) and electricity generation from fossil fuels with capture and storage of CO2. Where natural gas is available at low costs, gas-fired combined cycle plants with capture and storage Of CO2 have the lowest electricity generating costs. If the cost of gas is high, wind turbines at favourable sites are cheaper. The cost of wind energy depends strongly on the load factor and costs at low wind speed sites are high. Biomass fired power generation could be competitive if the biomass is available at very low costs but purpose grown biomass in developed countries is expected to be relatively expensive. Coal fired power generation with CO2 capture and storage could be cost competitive if coal costs are low. Solar thermal energy is more expensive than the other options for stand-alone plants but it may be competitive when used in combination with fossil fuel fired plants. Solar photovoltaics are currently more expensive than the other technologies for large scale power generation but they can be attractive for small niche applications. Costs of all of these technologies are expected to decrease in future.