Differing generating technologies are often compared using simple Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis. Whilst useful in some circumstances, LCOE analysis can be misleading and hide the true system costs incurred by different technologies under different conditions. In practice, the average cost achieved may be very different to the theoretical LCOE. Simple LCOE analysis is therefore often not an effective way of robustly comparing the real overall system cost of various generating technologies.
System Operators are tasked with matching instantaneous supply with demand at the lowest cost to consumers and society. This requires a degree of system flexibility using a mix of primary and secondary generating and balancing technologies. For example, the achieved cost (and carbon intensity) for renewable generation is actually dependent upon its intermittency (how much power can be generated due to weather conditions and availability), and its instantaneous supply performance against instantaneous demand (the difference will need to be filled by a secondary generation or back-up technologies such as batteries or gas turbines).
The ETI has developed an easy to use Excel spreadsheet Technology Comparator Tool that allows users to compare how well a number of different generating technologies match half hourly electricity demand through a number of sample years. The tool cost optimises the selected generation technologies, together with either batteries or gas turbines as back-up, deployed to match demand through the year.
The spreadsheet is designed to allow users to make various choices and to input their own data, for example for carbon price or technology costs. The user manual describes how the spreadsheet is organised for anyone who wants to add another technology, or a new demand year or any other changes to the structure. Users can also test the sensitivity of the cost-optimised combination of the selected technology and backup technology to the assumptions, by using different data.
By using the Comparing Generating Technology Tool you are agreeing to our open licence agreement which can be accessed below.
Comparing Generating Technologies Perspective
Comparing Generating Technologies Tool
Technology Comparator User Guide 2018
Open Licence Comparing Generating Technologies Tool 2018