EPRI: Electric Power Research Insitute

Generation Technologies Assessment


Assessment of Relative Benefit / Impact

Which is the Best Generation Technology?

Electricity generation technologies all have advantages and disadvantages. Renewable technologies such as solar and wind use “free” resources and don’t produce harmful greenhouse gases, but are not always available when needed and require significant amounts of land. Technologies such as coal and nuclear produce electricity in large quantities reliably around the clock, but result in significant greenhouse gases (in the case of coal) and long-term waste disposal considerations (in the case of nuclear).

* CCS carbon capture and storage More Favorable Key Less Favorable
Attribute Coal Coal w/CCS* Natural Gas Nuclear Hydro Wind Biomass Geothermal Solar
Construction Cost
New plant construction cost for an equivalent amount of generating capacity
Electricity Cost
Projected cost to produce electricity from a new plant over its lifetime
Land Use
Area required to support fuel supply and electricity generation
Water Requirements
Amount of water required to generate equivalent amount of electricity
CO2 Emissions
Relative amount of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity
Non-CO2 Emissions
Relative amount of air emissions other than CO2 per unit of electricity
Waste Products
Presence of other significant waste products
Availability
Ability to generate electricity when needed
Flexibility
Ability to quickly respond to changes in demand
* CCS carbon capture and storage More Favorable Key Less Favorable