Business, New Development, North America

Hydro has highest average construction cost of any generating technology in U.S.

Hydro had the highest average construction cost per kilowatt of any generating technology installed in 2016, according to recently released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In fact, at $5,312, it was more than double the next closest technology, which was solar at $2,434. Natural gas was the lowest at $895.

Hydro fared better in terms of total construction cost, coming in at about $2.5 billion in 2016, compared with solar at nearly $20 billion and wind at nearly $15 billion.

Capacity additions of hydropower in 2016 were about 100 MW, from both existing plants and new plants. Capacity additions were highest for wind, nearly all of which was at new plants.

The report also provided a regional breakdown, which did not differentiate by generating technology. The number of generators installed in 2016 was highest in the northeast region, but the total megawatt capacity installed was highest in the south. Total construction cost was highest in the south.

Additionally, broken down by state, California had the highest average construction cost, highest total capacity, highest total construction cost and highest number of plants.

The data in this report are taken from the 2016 Annual Electric Generator Report, Form EIA-860. It included facilities with a total generator nameplate capacity of 1 MW or more.