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Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands (2017)

Chapter: Appendix C Description of NREL Model

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
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C

Description of NREL Model

OVERVIEW

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examined a number of technologies for generation of renewable electricity for export off-site. The analysis used the NREL REopt (Renewable Energy Planning and Optimization) model to calculate a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for photovoltaic (PV), wind, biomass, landfill gas (LFG), and waste-to-energy (WTE). For concentrating solar power, the System Advisory Model (SAM) was employed, and for geothermal, no analysis of LCOE was undertaken. NREL in addition conducted a sensitivity analysis to show the effect on LCOE of varying key parameters (Table C-1).

REopt was developed at NREL and efficiently screens a large number of sites by leveraging automated geographic information system (GIS) resource data, technology cost curves, and technology performance equations. According to NREL, “REopt is an energy planning platform offering multiple technology integration and optimization capabilities to help clients meet their cost savings and energy performance goals.”1 As inputs, REOpt uses location of sites, land availability, and utility usage. Inputs to the cost calculation portion of the model are based on market data and NREL research. The model uses energy performance models to estimate generation. The model uses site-specific information on incentives, export rates, and interconnection and net-metering limits. Energy escalation rates are based on projections made by the Energy Information Administration. The load profile is taken from the output of energy models based on building stock and climate zone.2

SAM, according to NREL, “makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that you specify as inputs to the model.”3 SAM makes estimates of energy performance and costs based on user-input values, including, for example, the project’s location, the type of equipment in the system, the cost of installing and operating the system, and financial and incentives assumptions.

INPUTS AND ASSUMPTIONS

The inputs to and assumptions on each technology, embedded within the respective models, are summarized in Table C-2. Interested readers who require further details are invited to consult Kandt et al. (2016).

___________________

1 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), 2014, Renewable Energy Optimization (REOpt), NREL/FS-7A40-62320, Golden, Colo., June.

2 Adapted from NREL, 2014, Renewable Energy Optimization (REOpt), NREL/FS-7A40-62320, Golden, Colo., June.

3 NREL, Welcome to SAM,” https://sam.nrel.gov/, accessed September 10, 2016.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
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TABLE C-1 Sensitivity Analysis on Renewable Energy

Input Varied Lower LCOE Central Scenario Higher LCOE
1. Discount rate 8% 10% 12%
2. Technology costs −20% Varies, see Appendix C +20%
3. Energy output +20% Varies, see Appendix C −20%
4. Other
Photovoltaics: ITC, SREC 30% ITC 10% ITC No ITC
Wind: PTC 2014 PTC No PTC No PTC
Biomass: Feedstock cost −20% Varies, see Appendix C +20%
Waste to energy: Tipping fee −20% Varies, see Appendix C +20%
Landfill gas: Fuel cost −20% Varies, see Appendix C +20%

NOTE: ITC, investment tax credit; LCOE, levelized cost of electricity; PTC, production tax credit; SREC, solar renewable energy credit.

REFERENCE

Kandt, A., E. Elgqvist, D. Gagne, M. Hillesheim, and A. Walker, J. King, J. Boak, J. Washington, and C. Sharp. 2016. Large-Scale Power Production Potential on U.S. Department of Energy Lands. Technical Report NREL/TP-7A40-64355. Golden, Colo.: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. June.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
×

TABLE C-2 Summary Description of Technologies as Used in NREL’s Analysis of Renewable Electricity

Technology Configurations Assumptions Costs
Solar photovoltaic Fixed axis Overall system losses 14%; inverter efficiency 96%; annual performance degradation of 0.5% per year Marginal installation cost: 0-200 kW: $2.54/Wdc
>200 kW, <5 MW: $2.01/Wdc
>5 MW: $1.79/Wdc
O&M cost: $0.020/W-yr
Single-axis tracking Overall system losses 14%; inverter efficiency 96%; annual performance degradation of 0.5% per year Marginal installation cost: 0-200 kW: $2.69/Wdc
>200 kW but <5 MW: $2.18/Wdc
>5 MW: $1.95/Wdc
O&M cost: $0.023/W-year
Wind power 30 acres of land needed per MW Marginal installation cost: 0-50 kW: $2.42 /Wdc
15% loss assumed for wake effects, electrical losses and availability. >50 kW but <850 MW: $2.38/Wdc
>850 kW: $1.75/Wdc
See Table C-3 for further assumptions. O&M cost: $0.035/W-year
Biomass (all)

Heat and/or electricity (see next row)

Fuel cost: On site: $0/ton
25 mi. radius: $20.50/ton
25-50 mi. radius: $32.50/ton
Biomass (electric)

Fully condensing turbine that generates electricity only

Electrical efficiency 23% Marginal installation cost: 0-713 kW: $26.78/W
Availability 85% >713 kW but <6.67 MW: $8.04

Assumed efficiency of existing heating system

80% >6.67 MW: $1.83/W
0-713 kW: $2.47/W-yr
Min. turndown ratio 40% >713 kW, <6.67 MW: $0.82/W-yr
Fuel heat content 9.2 mmBtu/ton O&M cost: >6.67 MW: $0.15/W-yr
Landfill gas

Internal combustion engine that generates electricity only

Electrical efficiency 33% Gas cost: $1/mmBtu
Availability 85% Piping cost: $346 200
Assumed efficiency of existin heatin s stem 80% Marginal installation cost: 0-110 kW: $5.65/W
Min turndown ratio 30% >110 kW but <3 MW: $2.56
Fuel heat content 10.6 mmBtu/ton >3 MW: $2.41/W
Max. distance to landfill 15 miles O&M cost: $0.25/W-yr
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
×
Technology Configurations Assumptions Costs
Waste-to-energy

Fully condensing turbine that generates electricity only

Electrical efficiency 21% Marginal installation cost: 0-2520 kW: $15.60/W
Availability 85% >2520 kW but <21 MW: $5.84

Assumed efficiency of existing heating system

80% >6.67 MW: $3.69/W
Min. turndown ratio 40% O&M cost: 0-2520 kW: $2.44/W-yr
Fuel heat content 10.4 mmBtu/ton >2520 kW but <21 MW: $0.36/W-yr
>6.67 MW: $0.14/W-yr
Concentrating solar power tower Molten salt, BrightSource Heliostat LH-2.2; 539,654 m2 total reflective area.

50 MW net (55-MW power plant with 9% parasitic losses)

Installation:
O&M:
$0.065/W-yr
$6.30/Watt for system size 50 MW
96% availability Variable O&M: $0.004/kWh
6 hours of thermal energy storage
15 acres/MW

NOTES: mmBtu = million British thermal units; kW = kilowatt; kWh = kilowatt-hour; MW = megawatt; O&M = operation and maintenance; W-year = Watt-year; Wdc = Watts direct current. SOURCE: Kandt et al. (2016).

TABLE C-3 Representative Turbines Used in NREL’s Analysis of Wind Power

Size Small Medium

Large

Nameplate 10 kW 100 kW 3,000 kW 2,000 kW 1,800 kW
IEC class (average wind velocity) N/A N/A Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
(≥9 m/s) (7.5 m/s ≤ average wind speed <9 m/s) (<7.5 m/s)
Power control method Stall Stall Pitch Pitch Pitch
Nacelle height assumed 30 m 50 m 80 m 80 m 80 m
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
×
Page 42
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
×
Page 43
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
×
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Description of NREL Model." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24825.
×
Page 45
Next: Appendix D Description of Renewable Energy Technologies »
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The potential for energy resource development on Department of Energy (DOE)-managed lands remains a topic of interest within DOE, Congress, and with private developers interested in siting projects on DOE lands. Several previous studies have estimated the energy resource development potential using various approaches and methodologies.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was tasked by the DOE Office of Legacy Management in 2013 with conducting a study to further refine and build upon previous analyses and to assess energy resource development potential on these lands. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands reviews and comments on the NREL study.

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