NREL’s web app provides cost and performance estimates for electric generation

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently developed, under a grant from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a new web application, the Transparent Cost Database (TCDB), which collects cost and performance estimates for electric generation, advanced vehicles and renewable fuel technologies.

The data is available for use by utilities, policy makers, consumers and academics with an aim to provide technology cost and performance estimates, which can be used as benchmarks for company costs, model energy scenarios and inform research and development scenarios. TCDB offers cost comparisons so that a user can view the range of estimates for what energy technologies, such as a rooftop solar installation, might cost today or in the future. One of the main goals of the application is to help companies and investors make informed decisions that support the commercialization and deployment of clean energy.

According to NREL analyst Austin Brown, TCDB displays DOE estimates and targets in a place that is easy to find and update. The application allows access to published historical and projected cost estimates for electricity generation, biofuels and vehicle technologies. The cost data are sourced from published studies and the DOE’s internal planning documents.

All data will be viewable and downloadable from the DOE’s Open Energy Information Platform. The NREL notes that its analysts collected the first batch of data by going over publicly available reports and collaborating with technology exports at the DOE. It hopes that in the near future, data will be additionally suggested by expert users and continually updated by the NREL project team.

TCDB currently has thousands of estimates from over 100 reports. The web interface lets users examine current estimates and future projections while also filtering the data for specific points of interest.

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