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Cost Competitiveness of Low-Carbon Energy Technologies

A transition to secure, reliable, low-carbon and low-cost energy resources at scale requires advancements in technology, policy and methods for economic evaluation. This project encompasses a suite of research initiatives that build tools for public and private-sector decision-makers to evaluate the economic attractiveness of low carbon energy technologies. Ongoing work has focused on the rigorous definition and development of the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) concept, the levelized product cost (LPC) concept, learning effects and early technology adoption policies, and the inclusion of both uncertainty and optionality in decision-making to enable robust cost assessments of low carbon energy technologies. In many cases, the attractiveness of low carbon technologies can be improved by (1) the bundling of multiple revenue streams, (2) taking advantage of persistent patterns in the time of generation or production and of electricity pricing and (3) embedding options for the flexible utilization of low carbon production technology or electricity generation capacity. These attributes require richer metrics of cost competitiveness. The goal of this project is to develop and disseminate novel insights and tools to more effectively assess the potential for emerging low-carbon energy technologies.