Frequently Asked Questions

What costs are included in the calculations?

Users can specify assumptions about capital expenditure (CAPEX), fuel costs, fixed operating and maintenance costs (fixed O&M), non-fuel operating costs, and the costs of debt and equity financing. Future versions of the tools will allow for the inclusion of various financial costs, including depreciation, interest during construction, and taxes. A future version will also feature the ability to include miscellaneous additional costs (for example, the costs of environmental externalities).

How is the internal rate of return (IRR) calculated?

The IRR is calculated using the Newton-Raphson method in calculus. For more information, see:

Will this service always be free?

We will begin charging a small monthly fee for the service in early 2016.

What features do you expect to roll out in the future?

In the next several weeks, we will be rolling out additional features which include the ability to:

  • Calculate system-wide LCoEs for an entire portfolio of plants coming into operation at different times
  • Download the data behind the graphs, so you can manipulate them further, as needed
  • Create additional graphs, including energy cost supply curves
  • Include environmental or other cost adders
  • Include financial charges such as tax, depreciation, and interest during construction
  • Customize generation, construction, and depreciation schedules.

 We will also, by March 2016, be integrating our dispatch simulation model (SyDIS). SyDIS simulates the way power plants are dispatched in an electricity system to meet demand. The model takes assumptions about hourly demand, and the power plants that are available to serve that demand, and forecasts it on an hourly basis for as many years as the user specifies. SyDIS outputs can be used to determine the capacity factors of plants in LCoE-z.